Vatican: ISIS Threat to Francis 'Exists'
Security chief says he's taking vague threats seriously
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2015 11:39 AM CST
Pope Francis shares a word with his translator Monsignor William Millea at the end of a private audience at the Vatican, Monday, March 2, 2015.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)
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(Newser) – The Vatican knows of "no plan for an attack against the Vatican or the Holy Father," but in the wake of ISIS' latest round of sabre-rattling, the commander of the Vatican gendarmes says that he's taking it seriously. "The threat exists," Domenico Giani tells an Italian magazine in an interview picked up by Crux. ISIS last month referred to Italy as "the nation signed with the blood of the cross" and alluded to the presence of militants "south of Rome" in a video of the execution of 21 Coptic Christians.

But don't look for Pope Francis to disappear from public view: "Even as pope, he's still a priest who doesn't want to lose the contact with his flock," says Giani. "It's us, those in charge of his safety, (who) are the ones that have to help him, not the other way around." (It's not the first rumor of ISIS targeting the pontiff, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the militants.)