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Rome Reports

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Pope to high school students: when you become a slave to your phone, you lose freedom

Pope Francis walked into Paul VI Audience Hall to find an especially excited group waiting for him and reaching for him. They were students from Ennio Quirino Visconti, celebrating their Jubilee Year, 450 years after the birth of their patron, St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

Pope Francis went off script to tell the students to live and study science and culture with passion, instead of indifference like many have nowadays. He additionally asked for inclusion and respect for diversity, saying when one is fair, grow takes place.

“The values of fraternity are based on freedom, the honest search for truth, the promotion of justice and solidarity, most especially toward the weakest. Courageously keep moving forward on this path. It's not easy. It's not easy. But it's the only path capable of bearing fruit.”

He then focused on St. Luigi Gonzaga's life, 450 years since his birth. Pope Francis said the saint was capable of making important decisions. He asked the teachers to help the students reflect interiorly on what conscience really is and how it can help one's life. 

Pope Francis asked the students to sit in silence, with a special request. 

“Free yourself from the dependence on your cell phone, please. You have heard of the drama of dependence, right? Of course, yes Father. Of taking drugs. Being addicted to noise and if there is no noise, I am not comfortable. But when you become a slave to your phone, you lose your freedom.”

The pope stressed the importance of loving one another, saying love overcomes all. He told them not to be afraid to love and likewise not to be afraid to dream big. These dreams are what makes the world a better place.