In wake of France attack, is there reason to worry about ‘Catholic Woodstock’?
The Vatican has said that there will be no changes to the pope’s schedule for World Youth Day events in Poland next weekend, despite security concerns across Europe in the wake of the deadly terror attack in Nice, France, that left 84 dead.
As many as 1.8 million are expected to attend a vigil with Pope Francis next Saturday in Krakow, indicating that the security operation will be a massive undertaking for Polish authorities.
There’s no indication of a specific threat for the event that is affectionally known as “Catholic Woodstock.” However, it’s important not to underscore how much of a deadly threat that ISIS poses to Pope Francis.
Islamic State militants seem to be obsessed with striking at the heart of Catholicism.
In 2014, an english-language propaganda magazine cover showed an Islamic State flag flying over St. Peter’s Square, eventually leading Newsweek to ask: Has ISIS set its sights on occupying the Vatican?
ISIS also released a graphic video early last year that appeared to show the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, with a man warning that militants would next “conquer Rome.”
Shortly after, the Vatican’s security chief acknowledged that Pope Francis faced a real threat from extremists, according to Crux.
“The threat exists,” the security official told an Italian magazine. “This is what has emerged from my conversations with Italian and foreign colleagues.”
In April, security officials uncovered a plan to attack the Vatican during the Holy Year of Mercy.