In fact, Benedict specifically praised - and blessed - science and scientists in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Hawking says in his book, "The Grand Design," that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the introduction. "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going," he writes.
"The developments of science have been both uplifting, as when the complexity of nature and its phenomena were discovered, exceeding our expectations, and humbling, as when some of the theories we thought might have explained those phenomena once and for all proved only partial," he said.
And he said the conference he was attending was "proof of the church's esteem for ongoing scientific research and of her gratitude for scientific endeavor, which she both encourages and benefits from."