The death of Pope John Paul II has occasioned widespread discussions about his own stand and the Vatican’s position regarding a variety of subjects, from purely theological to social issues. Completely lacking has been any reference to an issue of concern to many, and especially to those interested in the subjects of UFOs, Life on other planets, and Extraterrestrials in general, and in Zecharia Sitchin’s writings in particular.
As it happened, in April 2000, Sitchin engaged in a public discussion of those very issues with a leading theologian of the Vatican, Monsignor Corrado Balducci, during an international conference held in Bellaria (Bimini) in Italy. The dialogue was reported at the time on the Zecharia Sitchin web site (http://www.sitchin.com/). Here is the full text of that report.
Dialogue in Bellaria
SITCHIN AND VATICAN THEOLOGIAN DISCUSS UFOs, EXTRATERRESTRIALS, ANGELS, CREATION OF MAN In what must be a historic first, a high official of the Vatican and a Hebrew scholar discussed the issue of extraterrestrials and the creation of man, and though different from each other in upbringing, background, religion and methodology, nevertheless arrived at common conclusions:
- Yes, extraterrestrials can and do exist on other planets
- Yes, they can be more advanced than us
- Yes, materially, man could have been fashioned from a pre-existing sentient being.
The high Vatican official was Monsignor Corrado Balducci, a Catholic theologian with impressive credentials: A member of the Curia of the Roman Catholic Church, a Prelate of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Propagation of the Faith, leading exorcist of the Archdiocese of Rome, a member of the Vatican’s Beatification Committee, an expert on demonology and the author of several books. Appointed in the Vatican to deal with the issue of UFOs and extraterrestrials, he has made in recent years pronouncements indicating a tolerance of the subjects but he has never before met and had a dialogue with a Hebrew scholar, and gone beyond prescribed formulations to include the touchy issue of the creation of man.
The Hebrew scholar was me—Zecharia Sitchin: A researcher of ancient civilizations, a biblical archaeologist, a descendant of Abraham…
The monsignor and I had almost met for such a dialogue the previous December, but it did not come about. This time we were scheduled to meet in Bellaria, Italy, at a conference whose theme was “The Mystery of Human Existence.” I arrived there with my wife and a score of fans from the U.S.A., on March 31, scheduled to address the audience of over a thousand the next day. The monsignor was nowhere in sight but he was there the next morning to hear my presentation. “I drove the whole night from Rome to hear you,” he said.
My talk, ably translated by my Italian editor Tuvia Fogel, included a slide presentation that added a pictorial dimension to the evidence from ancient times in support of Sumerian texts, on which my eight books based the following conclusions:
We are not alone—not just in the vast universe, but in our own solar system. There is one more planet in our solar system, orbiting beyond Pluto but nearing Earth periodically. Advanced “Extraterrestrials”—the Sumerians called them Anunnaki, the Bible Nefilim—started to visit our planet some 450,000 years ago. And, some 300,000 years ago, they engaged in genetic engineering to upgrade Earth’s hominids and fashion Homo sapiens, the Adam. In that, they acted as Emissaries for the Universal Creator—God.
“We have much to talk about,” Msgr. Balducci said to me as he came forward to congratulate me on my presentation. “I have great esteem for your scholarship,” he said.
We returned to the hotel for lunch. Our table was surrounded in a semi-circle by my American fans, intent on not missing a word of the forthcoming dialogue. In the hours-long session, Msgr. Balducci outlined the positions he was going to state, from a prepared text, in his talk the next day. While my approach was based on physical evidence, his was a purely Roman Catholic theological-philosophical one, seeking the spiritual aspects. Yet, our conclusions converged.
Msgr. Balducci’s Positions
On UFOs. “There must be something in it.” The hundreds and thousands of eyewitness reports leave no room for denying that there is a measure of truth in them, even allowing for optical illusions, atmospheric phenomena and so on. As a Catholic theologian such witnessing cannot be dismissed. “Witnessing is one way of transmitting truth, and in the case of the Christian religion, we are talking about a divine revelation in which witnessing is crucial to the credibility of our faith.”
On Life on Other Planets: “That life may exist on other planets is certainly possible… The Bible does not rule out that possibility. On the basis of scripture and on the basis of our knowledge of God’s omnipotence, His wisdom being limitless, we must affirm that life on other planets is possible.” Moreover, this is not only possible, but also credible and even probable. “Cardinal Nicolo Cusano (1401-1464) wrote that there is not a single star in the sky about which we can rule out the existence of life, even if different from ours.”
On Intelligent Extraterrestrials: “When I talk about extraterrestrials, we must think of beings who are like us— more probably, beings more advanced than us, in that their nature is an association of a material part and a spiritual part, a body and a soul, although in different proportions than human beings on Earth.” Angels are beings who are purely spiritual, devoid of bodies, while we are made up of spirit and matter but still at a low level. “It is entirely credible that in the enormous distance between angels and humans, there could be found some middle stage, that is, beings with a body like ours but more elevated spiritually.If such intelligent beings really exist on other planets, only science will be able to prove; but in spite of what some people think, we would be in a position to reconcile their existence with the redemption that Christ has brought us.”
The Anunnaki and the Creation of Man
Well then, I asked Msgr. Balducci, does it mean that my presentation was no great revelation to you? We appear to agree, I said, that more advanced extraterrestrials can exist, and I use science to evidence their coming to Earth …I then quote the Sumerian texts that say that the Anunnaki (“Those who from heaven to Earth came”) genetically improved an existing being on Earth to create the being that the Bible calls Adam.
My conclusion regarding your presentation, Msgr. Balducci answered, is that more than anything else your whole approach is based on physical evidence, it concerns itself with matter, not with spirit. This is an important distinction, “because if this distinction is made, I can bring up the view of the great theologian, Professor Father Marakoff, who is still alive and is greatly respected by the Church. He formulated the hypothesis that when God created Man and put the soul into him, perhaps what is meant is not that man was created from mud or lime, but from something pre-existing, even from a sentient being capable of feeling and perception. So the idea of taking a pre-man or hominid and creating someone who is aware of himself is something that Christianity is coming around to…The key is the distinction between the material body and the soul granted by God.”
From Anunnaki to God
Yes, I responded to the Vatican theologian, in my writings I deal with the physical evidence but already in my first book (The 12th Planet), the very last sentence of the last paragraph raises the question: If the extraterrestrials “created” us, who created them on their planet?
From this my own thinking and the contents of my subsequent books evolved toward the spiritual or “divine” aspects. The Anunnaki, I have explained, were just emissaries (and that is what the Hebrew word Malachim, translated ‘angels,’ means). They thought that it was their decision to come here for selfish reasons and to fashion us because they needed workers but in truth they only carried out the Almighty God’s wishes and plans.
If such extraterrestrials were so involved, Msgr. Balducci said, even by your own interpretation they had to do with man’s physics, body and rationality: but God alone had to do with the soul!
My second book, that deals with man’s aspiration to ascend the heavens, is titled The Stairway to Heaven. I told Msgr. Balducci, “It seems to me that we are ascending the same stairway to heaven, though from different steps,” I said.
We ended the dialogue as friends, determined to stay in touch and continue.
© Z. Sitchin 2005reproduced by permission.