"I'd be delighted if we found life elsewhere and delighted if we found intelligent life elsewhere," Guy Consolmagno, a planetary scientist at the Vatican observatory, told The Guardian.
Speaking just before last week's British Science Festival, Consolmagno, curator of Pope Benedict XVI's meteorite collection, suggested that the odds of the human race finding and being able to communicate with aliens are probably astronomical, but it's an idea that expands the concept of religion.
And his is not the only religious voice speaking out on the possibility that we're not alone in the universe.
"I think the Vatican is very much with the position that there may be other life in the universe -- I think they're OK with that," retired Presbyterian minister Barry Downing told AOL News.
"Not only does Guy Consolmagno's statement point to that, but you've had [Vatican senior exorcist and demonologist] Corrado Balducci saying for some time that UFOs are real and come from the natural world, not the supernatural world, so he makes that distinction."
Speaking from his Endwell, N.Y., home, Downing, author of "The Bible and Flying Saucers" (Marlowe), said the idea of baptizing aliens, from a biblical point of view, is a matter that needs discussion.
"On the one hand, you could say, 'No, you shouldn't do it,' because in Matthew 28, Jesus gave a commandment, 'Go you, therefore, baptize all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.' Jesus didn't say, 'Go baptize all planets.'
"So, the commandment is restrictive, and, therefore there's no need to worry about baptizing aliens if they show up."
Downing says the bigger question is: How do we know aliens are going to need to be baptized?
"The Christian message is, the spirit of God wishes to enter into you and be part of your life, and when you're baptized, the promise is that that has happened," he said.
"The question I would ask is, If we've got some type of an extraterrestrial reality flying around our skies in a universe that's 13 billion years old, don't we need to face the possibility that this reality -- whatever it is -- might be millions of years ahead of us? And why would we suppose that they would not already have the Holy Spirit and therefore not need to be baptized by the Church?"
Last November, at a Vatican-sponsored astrobiology conference, scientists gathered to discuss the possibility and implications of alien life. The five-day event was sanctioned by the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
"This is not in contradiction with our faith, because we cannot establish limits to God's creative freedom," he told the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper in 2008.
"If we consider earthly creatures as brothers and sisters, why could we not speak of a brother alien? He would also belong to the Creation," Funes speculated.
Whether or not our alien brothers and sisters decide to visit Earth, Downing isn't convinced they would need our help with whatever souls they might have.
So is the Vatican inching closer to some sort of full disclosure about extraterrestrial life? And if contact is made with otherworldly creatures, would Consolmagno still be serious about baptizing an alien?
"Only if they asked," he said.