Vatican denies reports of attack warnings and issues – useless – plea against ‘religious violence’

The Vatican denied press reports on Monday that it had received specific warnings from Israeli and U.S. intelligence services that it was a probable next target of an Islamist attack.

La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera and other Italian papers reported on Monday that the CIA and Mossad had warned Italian and Vatican authorities that the Vatican may be a target. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said there were normal contacts among security services but the Holy See had been given no “concrete and specific” information over any risk.

Pope Francis on Monday condemned last week’s killings by Islamist militants in Paris and urged Muslim leaders to denounce interpretations of religion that use God’s name to justify violence.

“Violence is always the product of a falsification of religion, its use a pretext for ideological schemes whose only goal is power over others,” the pope said in an annual meeting with diplomats from 180 countries accredited to the Vatican, a speech informally known as his “State of the World” address…

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