The 82-year-old pope quickly got up and was unhurt, said a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini. Footage aired on Italy's RAI state TV showed a woman dressed in a red jumper vaulting over the wooden barriers and rushing the pope before being swarmed by bodyguards.Raw video of the incident. (The Holy Father appears to be ok). More here:
The commotion occurred as the pope's procession was making its way toward the main altar and shocked gasps rang out through the public that packed the basilica. The procession came to a halt and security rushed to the trouble spot.
Benedettini said the woman who pushed the pope appeared to be mentally unstable and had been arrested by Vatican police. He said she also knocked down Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was taken to hospital for a check up.
"During the procession an unstable person jumped a barrier and knocked down the Holy Father," Benedettini told The Associated Press by telephone. "(The pope) quickly got up and continued the procession."
- According to the New York Times, The woman who leapt at Pope Benedict XVI during Christmas Eve Mass, causing him to trip and fall, had tried the same thing last year, only to be stopped by security.
- The woman who knocked down Pope Benedict XVI has been hospitalized, the Vatican said on Friday. (AFP)
- Protecting the Pope: Keeping Him Safe But Open, by Jeff Israely. Time December 26, 2009.
- Vatican mulls options over woman who lunged at pope Reuters. Decembet 26, 2009.
- Pope Benedict forgives Susanna Maiolo one day after she knocked him down during Christmas Eve Mass December 26, 2009.