Pope Francis Began Easter Week with Support for Youth Protestors
Pope Francis has never been a stranger to supporting social justice issues. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that his holiness had something to say about the global March For Our Lives Protest.
Pope Francis celebrated the activism of youth, saying, “Dear young people, you have it in you to shout.” Pope Francis compared the raising of voices to Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is part of the Easter celebration where Jesus came with palm leaves into Jerusalem and was greeted as a savior, just before he was crucified. Pope Francis said the students were like the citizens of Jerusalem by standing up to those who want to silence them.
Dear young people, never get tired of being instruments of peace and joy among your peers!
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 25, 2018
The March For Our Lives Protest was designed to raise awareness about gun violence in the United States and the government’s inaction for comprehensive regulation. It is estimated that there were over 1 million participants across the world. There were even supporters in the Vatican:
Joining #PopeFrancis for Palm Sunday after #MarchForOurLives: Valentina & Gabriella Zuniga, students from Stoneman Douglas High, along with their parents, Patrizia (far right) and Hugo (seated). Paul Haring photo. pic.twitter.com/n1cs5LF4Tq
— Catholic News Service (@CatholicNewsSvc) March 25, 2018
Pope Francis’s support comes from his religious school of Liberation Theology. Liberation Theology came into prominence as a response to the authoritarian governments of Central and South America from Catholic officials. It is based on the intersection of politics and religion. Jesus is seen as a revolutionary figure that fought against both the religious and political institutions that diminished rights. Catholic priests are encouraged not to isolate themselves from the problems of their communities, but to speak out on social issues like human rights, the environment, war, and any other issues that are seen as oppressive.
Even though Pope Francis did not explicitly mention the demonstrations, it is clear he is supporting the idea of speaking truth to power. Pope Francis has condemned mass shootings and weapons in the past.