It was only two short months ago that Pope Francis was touring this country and promoting his climate change encyclical, having made this issue a key one in his papacy.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, his priorities seem to have been shifted.

Unfortunately, he blames the weapon sellers instead of the weapons users for the start of a “world war” in his most recent homily.

Pope Francis has denounced arms traffickers who are fueling what he calls the piecemeal “world war” raging around the globe, saying they are “damned” delinquents interested only in making money.

Francis delivered one of the most pained homilies of his pontificate Thursday during morning Mass in the Vatican hotel chapel. He didn’t mention the Paris attacks by name, but referred to little wars being fought around the globe.

…He continued: “Those who make war are damned, they’re delinquents. War can be ‘justified’ for many reasons. But when the whole world is at war, as it is today … there is no justification. And God weeps.”

Both Pope Francis and the Vatican are high on the ISIS “hit” list, and security has been a prime concern for both. But in a disturbing new development, the threat against the the Holy See is such that the US State Department has sent out an alert to Americans to avoid St. Peter’s Basilica:

The November 18 notice is billed as a “Security Message for U.S. Citizens” regarding a potential for terrorist attacks, and arrived punctually into the email boxes of all Americans registered with the embassy, including that of Breitbart News.

Along with the Vatican, the State Department singles out the Duomo (cathedral) and La Scala opera house in Milan. It goes on to note that general venues “such as churches, synagogues, restaurants, theatres, and hotels” in both Rome and Milan are possible targets as well.

The embassy notice says: “Terrorist groups may possibly utilize similar methods used in the recent Paris attacks,” meaning bombs and assault rifles.

The alert also mentions that Italian authorities are aware of these threats, signaling that there will be additional security in these places, a phenomenon that is already evident.

To say the Italians are on high-alert would be an understatement. An American in Rome was detained briefly by the police, when a toy gun and Halloween costume stashed within his SUV was of concern to security forces associated with a papal visit to a nearly Lutheran church. There have been a stream of false bomb alerts, one of which was close to the US Embassy in Rome.

There have been several false alarms during the past 24 hours. At 9pm yesterday an unattended dark-coloured bag spotted near the US Embassy on Via Veneto caused chaos for about half an hour.

Yesterday morning there were two more false alerts near the Vatican, sparked by a wheelie bag near the private Lumsa University and a small metal box near a shop-front on Via Erba.

Following the Paris attacks, Italy has deployed an extra 700 troops in Rome and announced that the city’s airspace will be closed to drones for the duration of the upcoming Catholic jubilee year.

Despite the fear, Pope Francis stresses that the doors to the churches must remain open.

“Please, no armoured doors in the Church, everything open,” the 78-year-old told pilgrims in St Peter’s square, reports Italy’s AGI news. “There are places in the world where doors should not be locked with a key. There are still some but there are also many where armoured doors have become the norm.”

“We must not surrender to the idea that we must apply this way of thinking to every aspect of our lives,” the Pope added. “To do so to the Church would be terrible.”

Indeed. As evil Islamic extremists continue to slaughter the innocent and generate global fear, many of us will need the comfort of our church.


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