The Vatican dismissed concerns today that Pope Francis could be a target of Italian organized crime because his reforms threaten what one mafia expert said were long-time ties between the church and criminal syndicates.
"There is no concrete reason that would lead us to worry. There is no reason to feed alarmism," the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican's press office, told ABC News. "We are very calm."
Recent news reports quoted Nicola Gratteri, a respected Italian anti-mafia prosecutor, as having said that the pope's drive to reform the Catholic Church was making organized-crime members "nervous." He added, "I cannot say if the organization is in a position to do something like this, but they are dangerous and it is worth reflecting on."