Pope Francis has turned down attempts to heighten security during this year’s fears of an ISIS terrorist attack during the nightly #Christmas Eve Mass.
Fears of a possible ISIS attack have existed since last year
According to statements from the FBI, a recent link published online has leaked the possibility of ISIS attacks planned during the Christmas holiday, including American churches. Fears of a possible attack in Europe were also greatly instigated by terrorist attacks recently made at a Christmas market in Berlin.
Similarly, a previous holiday attack occurred earlier this year in Nice, France, on Bastille Day in July.
Reportedly, Pope Francis has said that he will not significantly change the annual midnight mass. This is somewhat typical for the Pontiff, as last year he went against suggestions from Italian police to wear a bullet-proof vest during the Christmas midnight mass, after reports came out about a planned invasion of Rome from ISIS. This year, he had reportedly turned down suggestions to make altercations to the Pope-mobile and to increase security. In a released statement, Pope Francis said that he was "not afraid" of the possible suicide bombers.
Additionally, the Pontiff condemned “ruthless competition between governments, churches, peoples, within families, from one parish to another,” suggesting that giving into fear of ISIS would be another victory for the terrorist group.
What will the Christmas Eve Mass be like this year?
The annual Christmas Eve Mass, also known as the Midnight Mass, will be held at St. Peter's Basilica. In spite of the name, over the years, the mass has often been celebrated earlier than at midnight, often being celebrated at 10 at night..
Those who will be attending the Christmas Eve Mass were required to buy tickets at least two months in advance. The event will also notably be live-streamed for those unable to attend. For those living in the United States, the event can be watched starting at 3:15 p.m. ET on Dec. 24. A video, coming from the Vatican’s official YouTube page, can be watched below: