(And now for something completely different) today's news that the Vatican is searching the Heavens for alien life follows previous announcements by the Vatican that belief in the existence of alien life and belief in Christianity are not incompatible.
So if you are the head of one of the world's largest religions, and your leadership believes (presumably given the careful and slow nature of the Vatican, such a belief would be grounded in extensive research and fact) that alien life exists (while publicly stating alien life could exist), why would the Vatican be spending time and resources on this issue?
The answer is pretty straight forward, the Vatican is preparing for the day when the rest of the world knows -- as opposed to believes -- that alien life (that is intelligent visitors) exist.
The Vatican, and for that matter every other major religion, needs to be prepared philosophically and lay down a foundation of theology that is consistent with the existence of alien, intelligent life.
Simply put, the Vatican is preparing for the day aliens are revealed, or reveal themselves in an unambiguous manner.
Prudence dictates being prepared in this regard. Perhaps the whole Galileo Galilei inquisition thing has modified the Vatican's approach to theologically disruptive discoveries.
(Also) looking at it through the other end of the telescope, the Vatican is preparing humanity for this knowledge by making public its efforts.
How do alien's structure their society? Do they believe in God? (I think the answer is YES on that one, since they are intelligent -- and oh boy, what fun that would be to tease the atheists on that.)
Do aliens use money? How is their society organized, are they a democracy? If not, how are resources allocated? Has technological advances in energy generation and space travel ended the need for working as humans do? Do telepathic powers re-define the political and economic structure of society -- if everyone can read everyone's thoughts?
My own view on the existence of alien life is that Earthlings will look back at the time when humans did not believe in the existence of intelligence alien life in same manner which we now look back at those who believed the earth was flat.
Wait, hold on, I think it's EBE (Extraterrestrial Biological Entities) on the other line -- uh, hello? (They want to talk, er communicate thoughts? on exopolitics on RedState.) ;)