After boisterous welcome from 50, 000 people in football stadium, Pope Francis tells crowd to beware of materialism .
Pope Francis urged South Koreans, among Asia’ s richest people , to beware of the spiritual ” cancer” that often accompanies affluent societies , as he led a Mass on Friday to commemorate the more than 300 people killed in a ferry disaster in April.
Tens of thousands of Asian Catholics gave a boisterous welcome to the pope as he celebrated his first public Mass in South Korea, a country with a small but growing church that is seen by the Vatican as a model for the rest of the world .
Francis took a high- speed train to the central city of Daejeon , where Catholic youths from across Asia have been meeting for the Asian version of World Youth Day .
Hundreds of trees were decked with yellow ribbons in the city in remembrance of the mostly school children who died when the Sewol ferry sank .
In the homily of the Mass, the pope urged listeners to ” combat the allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife ” .
He said they should see their faith as an ” antidote to the spirit of despair that seems to grow like a cancer in societies which are outwardly affluent , yet often experience inner sadness and emptiness” .