With America's youth inspiring the #NeverAgain movement in response to the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, the Vatican just responded to their passionate voices enacting change.
Pope Francis dedicated a portion of Palm Sunday to encourage young people to keep shouting and not let older voices discourage them from being heard.
"The temptation to silence young people has always existed," said Francis during the service in St. Peter's Square. "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."
A day after student-led protests around the world, Pope Francis used his Palm Sunday address to encourage young peo… https://t.co/QOonYW1m2u— CNN Breaking News (@CNN Breaking News)1522000938.0
According to Reuters, out of the tens of thousands of those attending the service were younger people for the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth.
The 81-year-old drew biblical parallels to urge the younger generation not to be manipulated by their elders. "There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive," said the pontiff, no doubt referring to the lawmakers who remain in stasis and haven't made any progress on gun reform yet continue accepting donations from the NRA.
Dear young people, the joy that Jesus awakens in you is a source of anger and irritation to some, since a joyful person is hard to manipulate.
@cnnbrk I love "Woke Pope"...— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes)1522000992.0
Francis led the procession by carrying a paumurello, a woven palm branch, and commemorated the day Jesus was hailed a savior when he rode into Jerusalem.
Pope Francis in his Palm Sunday homily: "Dear young people, you have it in you to shout ... It is up to you not to… https://t.co/beVjlRPtYk— Axios (@Axios)1521987300.0
"Dear young people, you have it in you to shout," he said, encouraging the youth to be like the people who welcomed their savior with the palm branches.
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 crowd eagerly cheered, "Yes!"
Pope Francis to young people: “There will be people who will say things to you to slow you down, to block your path… https://t.co/ahzIRQeQfN— Robert Ellsberg (@Robert Ellsberg)1521865472.0
Among the attendees were Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, Gabriella Zuniga, 16, and her sister Valentina, 15, who survived the shooting that claimed 17 lives, according to Catholic News Service.
The pope's comments from the Palm Sunday followed the demonstration of American students marching to protest gun violence and demanding change from politicians.
People from various spiritual backgrounds responded to the pope's speech.
@cnnbrk I’m not believer but I commend him for the encouragement. The youth must be heard and we must help guide th… https://t.co/FTxYu6Q5iG— Jason Ott (@Jason Ott)1522006997.0
@cnnbrk @BarbMcQuade Catholic since the late 80s. Best Pope we have ever had.— Secret Society Husker Chapter (@Secret Society Husker Chapter)1522001503.0
@Pontifex @kharyp Thank you, Your Holiness We lack leadership in our White House that respect life and are willing… https://t.co/9yTZzG9AUx— GSKH1237 (@GSKH1237)1522012325.0
With influential speakers like the Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez at the forefront of student-led protests, it's a new dawn for the youth to be heard in the fight for change. They're not slowing down.
And the pope just gave them his blessing to keep shouting.
Pope Francis just gave the Parkland student survivors advice the NRA will hate https://t.co/3q2uHRDEvO https://t.co/dtMo1NT7SV— #TheResistance (@#TheResistance)1522002662.0
@Pontifex Yes Pope Francis. The works of the young today are the fruits of tomorrow.— Jose Cordeiro (@Jose Cordeiro)1522012194.0