Edited to add: I'm getting quite a few emails and comments stating that Greg Laden's conclusions are pretty far off-base here. OK then, that's why I asked for comments! I found his take on it to be interesting, certainly, but if it's in error that's a different situation entirely. I'll look into this more when I can. I'm learning quite a bit about Catholicism, and I enjoy learning things. So thanks to everyone who's taken the time to discuss this.
Y'know, when the news hit that a Vatican astronomer was amenable to the idea of aliens, I wasn't overwhelmed. Without breaking a sweat I can think of about forty astronomers who could write a similar article, so it didn't seem like a big deal. However, not being raised Catholic, I may have missed some import to the words, of course.
Greg Laden over at Science Blogs has a really interesting take on this that never would have occurred to me. It's worth reading, and I'm curious to see everyone's thoughts on this. Feel free to comment there (be polite! Thank your host! Wipe your feet before you step inside!) or here.
And he has a bonus Talosian* picture there. Exxxxcellent.
*Extra ironic moment: the person who played that Talosian was a woman, Meg Wyllie. She was in "The Last Starfighter", too. I am a major science fiction geek.