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Pope Hails 'Sign of Dialogue' With Science

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II received an honorary degree Tuesday from Nicholas Copernicus University in his native Poland, calling it a ''sign of dialogue'' between science and faith.

The pope received the rector and faculty members from the university in Torun, Poland, the astronomer's birthplace, which John Paul visited in 1999. That visit came nearly four centuries after the Vatican condemned Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun.

The pope said then that science and religion were still grappling to find common ground in the ''service of truth'' and stressed again Tuesday that men of culture had ''the responsibility of truth, to strive toward it, to defend it and to live according to it."

He said it was necessary "for men and women not to walk alone but to try to confirm their own intuition through dialogue with others when reaching the truth on their own."

In 1992, the pope formally proclaimed that the church erred when it condemned Galileo for supporting Copernicus' theory, which had been denounced in 1616 as dangerous for the faith. Copernicus' book, ''De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium,'' remained on the church's Index of prohibited books until 1822.