Even though it was just an hour flight, Pope Francis had time to give a press conference on his way back from Albania. But he gave journalists one condition: that they could only talk about his trip to the Balkan country.
"Tomorrow, news must only focus on the trip. Nothing else.”
The Pope talked for 12 minutes. He confessed his shock after listening to the testimonies of an Albanian nun and priest who suffered the Communist persecution for years
"To hear a martyr speak of his own martyrdom was very powerful. I think that all of us who were there were moved, all of us. And they spoke as if they were talking about other people, simply and with humility. It did me a great deal of good”.
Albania, a country deeply marked by a Communist dictatorship, was the Pope's choice for his first apostolic trip within Europe. And although it's a European country, it doesn't belong to the European Union.
"My trip is a message, it is a sign: it is a sign I wish to give”.
Pope Francis explained that he had studied for two months the history of Communist repression in the country.
"For two months I have been studying that period. It was a cruel period; the level of cruelty was terrible. When I saw those photos of the martyrs, but not just the Catholics, also the Orthodox, and Muslims... and when I thought of the words said to them: 'But you must not believe in God', to which they responded, 'I believe'... Boom! They killed them. This is why I say that all three religions have given witness to God and now give witness to fraternity”.
Before saying good-bye to the journalists present, the Pope added that his next trip will be to Strasbourg, where is to address the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.