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Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on Wednesday met Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square.

Thunberg  shook hands and briefly spoke to the pontiff and showed him a small banner with ‘Join the Climate Strike’ written on it.

Pope Francis' general audience
Swedish schoolgirl climate activist Greta Thunberg (C,front) and her father Svante (back) attend the weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

Thunberg said on her Facebook page that she thanked him for speaking so clearly about the climate crisis, with the pontiff encouraging her to carry on in her crusade.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said that Francis “thanked and encouraged Greta Thunberg for her commitment to defending the environment.

“In turn Greta, who had asked for the meeting, thanked the Holy Father for his great commitment to defending creation”.