In May 2008, Funes gave an interview to the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper saying that the existence of intelligent extraterrestrials posed no problems to Catholic theology. The conference itself was officially convened by the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences, chaired by its religious leader Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, and was held on private Vatican grounds from November 6-10. Together with Funes’ 2008 interview and subsequent public comments by him, the conference demonstrates a welcome openness by the Vatican on the possibility and implications of extraterrestrial life. The Vatican’s openness to discussion of extraterrestrial life is no accident. It is part of an openness policy secretly adopted by the United Nations in February 2008. In fact, the Vatican is playing a leading role in preparing the world for extraterrestrial disclosure.