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13/05/2014 12:25 BST | Updated 13/05/2014 12:59 BST

Pope Francis Would Happily Baptise Aliens Because 'The Doors Of The Catholic Church Are Open To Everyone'

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Pope Francis has said that if Martians came to him asking to be baptised he wouldn't turn them away.

The pontiff has said that he would be willing to baptise creatures from another planet if they came to the Vatican, asking “who are we to close doors” to anyone.

In a homily yesterday dedicated to the concepts of acceptance and inclusion, Francis recalled a Bible story about the conversion of the first pagans to Christianity, according to reports on Vatican Radio.

He told a story from the Acts of Apostles in which Peter observes a group of non-Christians receiving the Holy Spirit. Other Christians later criticise Peter for consorting with these people, to which Pope Francis responded:

"That was unthinkable. If – for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here... Martians, right? Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them... And one says, 'But I want to be baptised!' What would happen?"

Francis said that Christianity had struggled from its earliest stages with the temptation to reject “the living presence of God” in various forms.

But he added: “When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let's do it this way’. Who are we to close doors?”

Pope Francis is not the first one to hint at alien baptism. Vatican scientist Guy Consolmagno suggested in 2010 that aliens might have souls and could be baptized if they asked for it.

"Any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul," Consolmagno said in a talk preceding the British Science Festival in Birmingham.

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