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Pope calls upon Korea’s Catholics to combat materialism, serve God in freedom

Catholic World News - August 18, 2014

On August 15, the second full day of his apostolic journey to South Korea, Pope Francis traveled from Seoul, the nation’s capital, to Daejeon, the nation’s 5th-largest city, where he celebrated Mass in World Cup Stadium.

In a departure from the program of the papal visit, the Pope traveled to Daejeon by public transportation, on a high-speed train, rather than by helicopter.

Preaching before an estimated 50,000 gathered in the stadium, Pope Francis said that “Mary’s Assumption shows us our own destiny as God’s adoptive children and members of the body of Christ. Like Mary our Mother, we are called to share fully in the Lord’s victory over sin and death, and to reign with him in his eternal Kingdom.”

“True freedom is found in our loving embrace of the Father’s will,” he continued. “From Mary, full of grace, we learn that Christian freedom is more than liberation from sin. It is freedom for a new, spiritual way of seeing earthly realities. It is the freedom to love God and our brothers and sisters with a pure heart, and to live a life of joyful hope for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom.”

Pope Francis invoked Mary’s intercession as he called upon Korea’s Christians to hand on their legacy of faith and “combat the allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife. May they also reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers, and the culture of death which devalues the image of God, the God of life, and violates the dignity of every man, woman and child.”

Invoking Mary as Mother of Hope, the Pope called hope “the 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. Upon how many of our young has this despair taken its toll!”

During the Angelus address that followed, he asked Mary to intercede for the victims of a ferry disaster.

“We especially entrust to her all who lost their lives in the sinking of the Se-Wol ferry, as well as those who continue to be affected by this great national disaster,” he said. “May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, console those who mourn, and continue to sustain those who so generously came to the aid of their brothers and sisters.”

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