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Pope warns Ukrainian youth against the 'slavery of consumerism'

Pope John Paul II has advised young people in Ukraine not to migrate to the West in search of an easy life abroad.

He was speaking at a youth rally near Lviv in western Ukraine, which attracted the biggest crowd of his tour.

Ukraine has suffered a population drain since independence, due to low wages and a lack of jobs. Some two million of the country's young people have migrated to the West in the past five years alone.

The Pope sang a few lines from the Polish folk song Rain, Rain, Go Away.

More than 100,000 young people gathered in pouring rain to hear the Pope, who warned them: "Do not go from the slavery of the communist regime to the slavery of consumerism."

The pontiff rounded off his visit yesterday with the 27 beatifications, mostly of Soviet-era martyrs, at a ceremony in the Ukrainian Catholic stronghold of Lviv.

During his visit to Ukraine, the Pope has sought to heal the schism between the eastern Orthodox Church and the western Catholic Church over property disputes.