17:51 GMT07 April 2020
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    The influential Catholic figure praised the eminent physicist-atheist at a conference of Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome.

    Pope Francis and Stephen Hawking were brought together on the occasion of "Science and Sustainability: Impacts of Scientific Knowledge and Technology on Human Society and its Environment" conference held on November 25-29 in Rome.

    The smiling pontiff warmly greeted the theoretical physicist and praised him for his outstanding work. A picture of their meeting was published on the Pope's Instagram on November 30.

    Hawking who openly declares himself an atheist has been a member of the Academy since 1986. Thus, Pope Francis became the fourth pontiff after Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI to meet the famous scientist.

    Addressing the members of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the conference, Pope stressed their role in finding creative solutions to the world's problems is more urgent than ever and glorified the increasing collaboration between scientific and religious communities. Dr. Hawking gave a presentation on his No-Boundary Proposal on the beginning of the universe on November 26.

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    meeting, religion, science, Stephen Hawking, Pope Francis, Vatican
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