Pope Francis met with Stephen Hawking and the scientists from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences during their 4-day plenary session on Science and Sustainability.
While the pope did not exchange many words with Hawking, perhaps the size of his smile expressed more than words even could.
While addressing the group, the pope said there has never been such an obvious need for "science to be at the service of a new global ecological equilibrium,” and called on scientists to create a cultural model in order to combat the climate change crisis and its social consequences.
"Just as the scientific community, through interdisciplinary dialogue, has been able to research and demonstrate our planet’s crisis, so too today that same community is called to offer a leadership that provides general and specific solutions for issues which your plenary meeting will confront: water, renewable forms of energy and food security.”
One of the newest members to the Academy, 1998 Nobel Prize winner, Salvador Moncada from Latin America, has seen the negative effects of climate change first-hand.
Member, Pontifical Academy of Sciences
"The evidence for climate change is overwhelming now and it's being accepted everywhere. I think the pope has had a great impact, a beneficial impact. It has made us think. It has made us reflect. It has made us understand which are the main problems confronting humanity and has added a sense of urgency to all our activities and I think it's great.”
During the meeting, the pope also stated that on a whole, international politics has "reacted weakly” to the call for seeking the common good, which then harms society, democracy, justice and freedom. Despite this, he reminded all scientists, especially those who "profess belief,” not to lose hope, but to chose the common good.