Vatican preparing for attack by ISIS

Pope Francis waves from the popemobile after leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila January 18, 2015.(Photo: Reuters)

The head of the Vatican police force, Commander Domenico Giani, recently admitted that threats from the Islamic State (IS) against Pope Francis are real, and not propaganda. 

Giani said that lone wolves are also a threat to the Vatican and the Pope. 

"This is what emerges from the talks I have had with Italian and foreign colleagues," he told Polizia Moderna.

The commander said that lone wolves are especially dangerous because "they are unpredictable".

But Pope Francis will not be cowering in fear. 

"[He] is not compromising the style of his pontificate, based on closeness to the people, that is, on personal contact with the greatest number of people possible," Giani explained, adding that Francis remains "the priest who does not want to lose touch with his flock."

"We are the ones who have to adjust to him, and not vice versa," he continued. "We have to do everything we can so he can continue to carry out his ministry as he wants and believes he should."

While Francis is reportedly "well aware of the threats on his person," the Vatican police leader said the pontiff's only concern is "for the faithful."

The police force joined Interpol under Giani's leadership, and shares intelligence information with other countries. There are 138 Vatican policemen, and 20 of them have special forces training that enables them to respond in terrorist situations. 

The Pope and his residences are also protected by the 110 soldiers of the Swiss Guard, state-of-the-art technology, and "thousands" of surveillance cameras in Vatican City and other Vatican properties. 

Giani, who formerly worked for the Italian government, said that as a Catholic, his current position is the "highest of all."  

"I protect the Vicar of Christ on earth," which is "an honour and a joy that compensate every sacrifice, even the risk of my life," he intimated.