Amidst security fears resulting from recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Pope Francis on Wednesday said the doors of Catholic churches around the world must remain open.
An AFP article quoted the Pope as saying: "Please, no armored doors in the Church, everything open. We must not surrender to the idea that we must apply this way of thinking to every aspect of our lives. To do so to the Church would be terrible."
His comments also had a spiritual significance, according to the article, because he urged the Church to welcome lapsed believers who are considering returning and stay open to the hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving in Europe from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
Italy's AGI news said the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church told people in St Peter's square, "There are places in the world where doors should not be locked with a key. There are still some but there are also many where armored doors have become the norm."
Security measures were increased in Italy, where 700 extra troops were deployed in Rome, adding to the 24,000 police officers usually in place. This week, it was announced the city's airspace will be closed to drones for the duration of the upcoming Catholic jubilee year due to start Dec. 8, based on concerns about the potential dangers posed by remote-controlled aircraft, reports AFP.
In contrast, however, an AP article carried in the New York Times stated the pope's personal security detail was nearly doubled during his general audience Wednesday, and carabinieri were out in force.
"Yet he stepped up security around himself? Why not open the Vatican then for refugees?" asked Danielle van Wyk online.
The article stated that on Wednesday, the pope was surrounded by "nearly 20 dark-suited bodyguards during his tour through St. Peter's Square aboard his open-sided pope mobile, more than the normal 12 who usually jog alongside him. At each of the two main gates to the square, six or eight carabinieri guards checked pilgrims with wands and searched bags, more than usual."
"(I'm) Not a hugely religious person but I have to say I deeply respect the Pope and his mindset. He brings humanity back to religion," stated Tracey Lynn Cox on social media.
Lyndell A .Thomson also stated: "He (Pope Francis) is speaking the word of the Lord. He is living the way of the Lord. The outcome will be for the Lord to decide. Burnt Churches may be what the Lord will leave to destiny. A Church is a building. Faith belongs to the Lord. Faith, is what is required. Destiny, is a word the Lord would use. Have faith.
"What he (Pope Francis) is telling the world, that when you demonstrate fear, the terrorist are winning. This intolerant savages, know that...so don't close the door, open them, but be cautious...of course, evil is around the corner," stated Ariel Ayala Vera, a teacher from Puerto Rico, online.