After a quick visit to Strasbourg, where he addressed the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Pope Francis decided to hold a press conference on his way back to Rome.
In light of the message of his speech, he was asked if he considers himself a so called 'social democrat.'
"I would not dare to define myself as belonging to one side or another. I dare say that this comes from the Gospel: this is the message of the Gospel, taken up by the social doctrine of the Church.”
In another question, he shared that he feels a strong devotion towards St. Joseph, adding that whenever he prays to him, his prayers are answered.
Things took a more serious turn, when he was asked about a sexual abuse investigation taking place in Granada, Spain. The victim wrote a letter to the Pope, sharing that he had been abused by priests as a teenagers. And the priests, he said, were still active in the parish.
"I received the news. [The letter] was sent to me, I read it, I called the person and I said, 'Tomorrow you must go to the bishop'. I wrote to the bishop asking him to get things going, to start the investigation and move forward. How did I receive the news? With great pain, with great sadness. But the truth is the truth, and we cannot hide it.”
He was then asked if he still feels like the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, in his native Argentina. The Pope said, it's now part of his past and of his fond memories. When it comes to Europe, he said he's worried, adding that politicians from the Old Continent can learn a lot from younger generations.
"I've seen this, when I speak to young politicians in the Vatican, from different parties and countries. They speak with to a different tune that leads towards transversality. This is very valuable! They are not afraid of reaching beyond and engaging in dialogue, while still staying true to themselves. They're brave! I think we must imitate this based on an inter-generational dialogue.”
When asked about religious persecution and even straight out terrorism, the Pope was asked if he believes it's possible to have dialogue with religious extremists.
"I never give something up as a lost cause, never. Perhaps dialogue is not possible, but never close the door. It is difficult, one might say almost impossible, but the door is always open.”
The Pope's last international trip this year will be to Turkey. In 2015, he'll start the year off by visiting Sri Lanka and the Philippines in mid January.