Science and the divine

The late Pope John Paul II once told Stephen Hawking that “It's OK to study the universe and where it began. But we should not enquire into the beginning itelf because that was the moment of creation and the work of God.

I don't understand that. If God created the universe and everything in it, what could be more enlightening and divine than understanding that (if possible)? I simply don't see how it can be wrong or dangerous to seek that understanding. At the same time the vatican provides a lot of funding for astronomy, but I guess they only fund the “safe” kind, charting and categorizing. Which is of course great and very useful.

But then again, institutionalized religon and free thinking aren't exactly compatible.