Pope Francis on Sunday called on young people to keep shouting and “not allow the older generations to silence their voices or anesthetize their idealism”, Reuters reported. His statements, made during Palm Sunday service, came after thousands of students participated in protest marches against gun violence across the United States.

The US protests, under the banner of March for Our Lives, were led by the survivors of the deadly shooting at a high school in February.

While the pontiff did not mention the protests, he has expressed his stand against mass shootings and weapon manufacturing in the past. He said: “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?”

To which the many youth in the crowd shouted yes, Reuters reported.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church drew parallels from the Bible to urge the youth to speak out for their rights. “There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible,” he said. “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.