US disrupted threat against pope, says Republican lawmaker
Pope Francis, pictured here on August 26, 2015, has signalled that he wants the Church to adopt a more pragmatic and understanding approach to the situation of believers living in gay relationships (AFP)

The United States has broken up a threat against Pope Francis, who will visit Washington and other US cities this month, a lawmaker said Sunday.

No details of the threat were given.

US authorities are concerned about the visit because the Pope likes to get out among the huge crowds that gather to see him, said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

"He's a very compassionate man. He likes to get out with the people," McCaul said on ABC's "This Week" talk show.

"With that comes a large security risk. We're monitoring very closely threats against the pope as he comes into the United States. We have disrupted one particular case," McCaul said.

He said he learned of the threat, details of which he did not give, in a classified setting with the US Secret Service.

McCaul added, "as that date approaches, I think we're all very -- will be very diligent to protect him as he comes into the United States."

The Pope arrives in the United States on September 22 and is due to visit Washington, New York and Philadelphia.