Pope Francis 'not afraid' of ISIS, won't wear bulletproof vest when he delivers Christmas Day message

Pope Francis waves as he delivers his 'Urbi et Orbi' message from a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Dec. 25, 201Osservatore Romano / Reuters

The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group might be terrifying a lot of people from all across the globe, but Pope Francis is not one to shrink and cower in fear when faced with threats from this radical Islamic organisation.

The pope's spokesperson Father Ciro Benedettini said Pope Francis is aware of the threats made on his life by the ISIS as announced in a jihadist video, but said he is "not afraid" of Islamic radicals and will not wear a bulletproof vest as strongly suggested by his security aides to protect himself when he delivers his Urbi et Orbi Christmas Day message in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Dec. 25.

Benedettini told the Express UK the Vatican has already beefed up police security in light of the threats made by ISIS to carry out an attack in Rome similar to the one that happened in Paris last month. He said Pope Francis refuses to change his relaxed leadership style no matter what ISIS threatens him with.

Pope Francis "knows everything (about the threat from ISIS) but he doesn't want to lose the contact with the people," his spokesman said. "It is understandable in his position he doesn't want to wear a bulletproof vest—that is ridiculous to go on the altar in one. It is understandable obviously that the police and the gendarmerie would like the Pope to be more protected, but that is something that can't be changed."

"He is not afraid—you have seen that he has gone to Africa, he went to the Central African Republic which everybody asked him to avoid," Benedettini added. "He went there, he didn't have any danger, he was able to invite the imam to come with him in the Popemobile. He knows everything [about the alleged threat] obviously but he is not very concerned."

Benedettini also Vatican security officials have already seen the videos produced by ISIS, noting that "there is no specific threat apart from those coming from the IS or Daesh on the web."

They noted the black flag of ISIS superimposed on an image of St. Peter's Basilica. But the terrorist group created this picture merely to "show how powerful they are," Benedettini said.