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Pope Warns Young of Materialistic Life

August 19, 1989

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain (AP) _ Pope John Paul II, speaking after a rock-music performance, warned some 400,000 young people Saturday about pitfalls of materialistic life.

″Living in the permissiveness of the modern world ... it is easy and attractive to breathe this contaminated mentality and to succumb to the passing desire,″ the pontiff told youths from 55 countries. They gathered on Mount Gozo outside Santiago for the 4th Vatican-sponsored World Youth Day.

As the 69-year-old pontiff watched, young dancers and singers performed numbers to show that greed, selfishness and the pursuit of comfort could be unattractive.

Many people in the crowd kept time with the music, waving banners and scarves. They applauded the performance by a singer in a gold lame jacket who represented selfishness.

The pope’s appearance and the performances were a highlight of the pontiff’s three-day visit to Spain. He arrived Saturday and will visit the mining region of Asturias and the mountain shrine of Covadonga.

On the flight from Rome to Spain John Paul spoke with reporters about the nomination of Solidarity journalist Tadeusz Mazowiecki for prime minister of Poland.

Mazowiecki, a personal friend of the pontiff, is expected to organize Poland’s first non-communist-led governmen in more than 40 years and the pope was asked if he was satisfied with developments in his homeland.

″All that has been done is very important, a step forward,″ he said.

He also indicated he might go to war-ravaged Lebanon on a mission of peace.

John Paul said he had not received a response from Lebanese authorities to his recent statement that he would like to visit Lebanon but added: ″We can say a certain interest has been shown.″

He did not elaborate but his spokesman, Joaquin Navarro, said the interest had come from various foreign ministries.

Last week the pontiff expressed outrage at the fighting between Lebanese Christian and Syrian-led forces and said he felt it ″imperative″ to visit the country.

John Paul’s third visit to Spain is part of an effort by the Vatican to stem the tide of secularization. Spain’s Catholic leaders also seek the pope’s assistance in reversing the decline in church attendance in this country, which once was a bastion of the faith.

The pope, in his remarks to the young people, denounced hedonism, drug abuse, divorce, abortion and artificial birth control saying they were ″in clear contrast with the law of God.″

Marisa Schaefer, 25, of Milwaukee, said she came to Mount Gozo ″to hear what the pope had to say to young people. ... I think it’s excellent that young people show they’re behind the holy father.″

Earlier in the day, John Paul donned a traditional brown cape and holding a pilgrim’s staff, he walked along the final 300 feet of the Way of St. James.

Legend has it that the body of St. James washed ashore in Galicia in northwestern Spain in a stone boat and the remains were discovered in a tomb near Santiago in the 9th century.

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