Stephen Hawking And Other Scientists Praised By Pope Francis

First Posted: Nov 30, 2016 03:40 AM EST

Pope Francis applauded atheist Stephen Hawking and other scientists for their outstanding works during the Pontifical Academy of Sciences conference in Rome on Monday.

Mail Online reported that the pontiff, who is known to have a deep concern for the environment, graced the occasion in a delightful attitude as he welcomed theoretical physicist and self-confessed atheist, Stephen Hawking. The 79-year-old Roman Catholic leader touched the 74-year-old ALS patient on his shoulder while giving him a warm smile.

During his speech, Pope Francis pointed out the urgent need for scientists to find solutions to the world's problems. He also called for unity between science and religion in addressing food security, water shortages and renewable forms of energy.

According to the Pope, humanity does not own God's gift of creation; thus, we have no right to plunder it, Catholic Herald reported. He said that the modern world has got used to "thinking we are the owners and masters of nature, authorised to plunder it without any consideration for its secret potential and evolutionary laws, as if it were an inert substance at our disposal, causing, among other things, a very serious loss of biodiversity."

Pope Francis added that the world needs an ecological conversion where people should understand their accountability to the environment and its inhabitants and try to execute proper social justice to overcome an unjust system that creates inequality, exclusion and misery.

The Pope continued that it is for the scientists to "build a cultural model to tackle the crisis of climate change and its social consequences so that enormous productive capacities are not reserved only to the few."

In order for that to be successful, he added that the scientists should be free of economic, political and ideological interests as well.

The Ponitifical Academy of Sciences conference was held from Nov. 25 to Nov. 29 at the Vatican.

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