Pope Francis has said the doors of Catholic churches must remain open, despite increased security fears in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
“Please, no armoured doors in the Church, everything open,” the 78-year-old pontiff told pilgrims in St Peter’s square.
“There are places in where doors should not be locked with a key. There are still some but there are also many where armoured doors have become the norm. “We must not surrender to the idea that we must apply this way of thinking to every aspect of our lives.”
The pope did not explicitly refer to last week’s attacks on Paris, which he has condemned.
His comments came in the context of intense discussion in Italy about the security of the Vatican and Rome, which are seen as potential targets for Islamists.
Francis’s comments also had a spiritual significance — he has urged the Church to keep its doors open to lapsed believers who are considering returning and to the hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving in Europe from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
Italy announced this week that it would close airspace over Rome to drones for the duration of the upcoming Catholic jubilee year.