The City on the Edge of the Catholic Church

As I prepare to move (into my first home, ours the morning of October 16th), I've been catching up on my reading (cuddling up with a magazine or book when most everything else, like games, is packed away) and movie watching (this fall started my "watch every Star Trek ever made" marathon, the sequel to my "watch every X-Files ever made" of a year back). Along the way, I've happenstanced on two things of interest.

Whilst I'm pretty sure I've seen every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, it was many moons ago when I was a wee lad of less than 15, easily. And though I recall seeing "The City on the Edge of Forever" many times then, it was only after rewatching it now, with the seasoned interest of a Wizened Old Man With A Goal instead of merely Childlike Wonder And Love Of Sci-Fi, that I grasped the significance and importance of one conversation:

Edith Keeler (ED): Did you do something wrong? Are you afraid of something? Whatever it is, let me help. Kirk (K): "Let me help." A hundred years or so from now, a novelist will write a classic using that theme. He'll recommend those three words even over "I love you."

In giving that phrase, "Let me help", some thought, I think I definitely agree. Harlan Ellison wrote this episode, though he "was dismayed with the changes Gene Roddenberry and D.C. Fontana made to his story." More information about the episode is available over at Memory Alpha and Ellison eventually told his side of things, prefaced by "a delightful, 72-page, no-holds-barred rant", in Harlan Ellison's the City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became the Classic Star Trek Episode, which I plan to pick up soon.

The other thing of interest showed up in Fortean Times #215, where Alan Donnelly responds to an earlier article regarding "flying saucers [as] demonic manifestations". He mentions A Case of Conscience by James Blish, where Blish had been "assured that the Catholic Church had worked out a position on 'the plurality of worlds' and any inhabitants" - i.e., that the Catholic Church had already devised a religious response should aliens, or other non-Earth life, actually exist. Blish's introduction quotes (as transcribed from Donnelly):

"...[E]ach of such planets (solar or non-solar) must fall into one of three categories: (a) inhabited by sentient creatures, but without souls; so to be treated with compassion but extra-evangelically. (b) Inhabited by sentient creatures with fallen souls, through an original but not inevitably ancestral sin; so to be evangelised with urgent missionary charity. (c) Inhabited by sentient soul-endowed creatures that have not fallen, who therefore (1) inhabit an unfallen, sinless paradisal world; (2) who therefore we must contact not to propagandize [sic] but in order that we may learn from them the conditions (about which we can only speculate) of creatures living in perpetual grace, endowed with all the virtues of perfection, and both immortal and in complete happiness for always possessed of and with the knowledge of God."