Protecting Vatican from Terrorists is an ‘Enormous’ Challenge

By Published on November 29, 2015

VATICAN CITY— When Pope Francis orders the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica open Dec. 8 for the start of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, tens of thousands of Catholic pilgrims — and the tightest security the Vatican has ever seen — will be on hand for the occasion.

In the wake of the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, the Vatican stepped up security dramatically. A heavier police presence is noticeable around St. Peter’s Square, and security checks for those entering St. Peter’s Basilica have become more thorough.

Yet many security experts doubt those steps will be enough to adequately protect Francis, other church leaders and the waves of the faithful who visit the focal point for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics every day.

“Protecting the Vatican has always been an enormous and risky challenge,” said Massimo Bianco, president of the International University of Security Science in Milan. “That is even more true now, with a pope who is a worldwide phenomenon and a rising level of threat.”

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