Pope Francis arrived to "Mother Teresa” international airport, in Tirana, shortly before 9 AM. Several government officials of Albania were waiting for him there, and he was officially welcomed at the presidential palace shortly after his arrival.
In his first address in the Muslim majority country, the Pope highlighted the importance of peaceful coexistence among religions. He cited Albania as an example, and explained that religion should always promote dialogue, not violence.
"Let no one consider using God as a shield while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression! May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all, the right to life and the right of everyone to religious freedom!"
The Pope went on to explain that education is one of the best ways of promoting inter-religious dialogue and peace.
"The peaceful coexistence of different religious communities is, in fact, a priceless benefit to peace and to harmonious human advancement."
The Pope also referred to what he called "the new challenges" that the world faces today. Among them, protecting the rights of families.
"Alongside the globalization of the markets there must also be a corresponding globalization of solidarity; together with economic growth there must be a greater respect for creation; alongside the rights of individuals, there must be the guaranteed rights of those who are a bridge between the individual and the state, the family being the first and foremost of such institutions."
Concluding his address, the Pope said that growth and development must be accessible to all, and not just to a selected few.