Keep shouting, don't become anesthetized, pope tells young people

Pope Francis, starting Holy Week services leading to Easter, urged young people on Sunday to keep shouting and not allow the older generations to silence their voices or anesthetize their idealism.

Francis spoke a day after hundreds of thousands of young Americans and their supporters answered a call to action from survivors of last month's Florida high school massacre and rallied across the United States to demand tighter gun laws.

He did not mention the demonstrations. Catholic News Service (CNS) said Gabriella Zuniga, 16, and her sister Valentina, 15, both students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people were killed in February, attended the service with their parents.

CNS posted a photo of the two holding up signs in St. Peter's Square, with one reading, "Protect Our Children, Not Our Guns."

See AlsoRick Santorum: Kids should learn CPR instead of rallying for gun laws

The 81-year-old Francis led a long and solemn Palm Sunday service before tens of thousands in the square, many of them young people there for the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth.

Carrying a woven palm branch known as a "palmurello," Francis led a procession in front of the largest church in Christendom to commemorate the day the Bible says Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as a savior, only to be crucified five days later.


Drawing on biblical parallels, Francis urged the young people in the crowd not to let themselves be manipulated.

"The temptation to silence young people has always existed," Francis said in the homily of a Mass.

Celebrities react to March for Our Lives rally
See Gallery
Celebrities react to March for Our Lives rally
I’ll always stand for open dialogue and action - it’s the only way to ensure bad history doesn’t repeat itself. Whe…
So ready to March today! Landed in DC w North & Kanye. We stand in solidarity with the survivors of gun violence &…
Ran in to a group of fellow @BarnardCollege alumni today at the NY #MarchForOurLives. Incredibly moved at how many…
“When a gun has more rights than you” ⚡️Today I stand in reverence of the students who’ve experienced such personal…
I... #March4OurLives @BenSPLATT
Surrounded by heroines! Lucky to be here at this moment in history with the ones I love! #MarchForOurLives
Watching everyone marching and speaking up is so inspiring, and so powerful. Keep going. You're changing the world. #MarchForOurLives
Heading to #MarchForOurLives in this charismatic blouse thanks to @ChrisAblesArt #LosAngeles LET’S DO THIS 🇺🇸
Sending love to you from Oberhausen. @AMarch4OurLives
Today is @AMarch4OurLives. I’m partnering with @MTV and @NAACP to sponsor a bus full of smart young young people tr…
Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus together at #MarchForOurLives in Washington D.C. 💙
Proud to share these photos of the brave young people from #StreetCornerResources as they join with other youth lea…
Nothing but respect for my #ParksAndRec family #MarchForOurLives
Meg’s tears stopped as abruptly as they had started. "But I do understand." She felt tired and unexpectedly peacefu…
Proud to march in solidarity.
#marchforourlives London. Let’s do this!!!
NYC, #MarchForOurLives
I wish I could be there but im so happy to see so many people showing up and standing up for what they believe in.…

"There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible. Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive," he said.

"Dear young people, you have it in you to shout," he told young people, urging them to be like the people who welcomed Jesus with palms rather than those who shouted for his crucifixion only days later.

"It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?"

The young people in the crowd shouted, "Yes!"

While Francis did not mention Saturday's marches in the United States, he has often condemned weapons manufacturing and mass shootings.

See AlsoStudent gun control activists shift focus towards ballot box

Palm Sunday marked the start of a hectic week of activities for the pope.

On Holy Thursday he is due to preside at two services, including one in which he will wash the feet of 12 inmates in a Rome jail to commemorate Jesus' gesture of humility towards his apostles the night before he died.

On Good Friday, he is due to lead a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession at Rome's Colosseum. On Saturday night he leads a Easter vigil service and on Easter Sunday he delivers his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message.

Read Full Story