Nicola Gratteri, an Italian anti-mafia prosecutor, recently raised concerns of Francis being targeted by Italian organized crime, such as the 'Ndrangheta mafia of the southern Calabria region, because his reforms threaten alleged long-time ties between the church and criminal syndicates, ABC News reported.
"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," Gratteri said.
Gratteri's remarks came during an interview on Italian TV channel RAINEWS24 on his new book, "Holiest Water," which is about the alleged ties between the Catholic Church and the 'Ndrangheta.
Francis has spoken out against organized crime in Italy, and on Sunday called on members of the Italian organized crime to repent during mass.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican's press office, told ABC News Thursday that the church does not believe such attacks are likely to occur.
"There is no concrete reason that would lead us to worry. There is no reason to feed alarmism," Lombardi said. "We are very calm."