His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was pulled down by a woman during the Christmas vigil Mass on Christmas Eve. In the video you can see the woman jump the barrier and instantly you see Vatican security react but the distance between the Pope and the barrier was small enough for the woman to bring down the Pope.
Along the way Roger Cardinal Etchegaray also fell as the woman barreled her way towards Papa Bene and through Cardinal Etchegaray. The good French Cardinal is currently still hospitalized with a broken hip.
Pope Benedict immediately got up and proceeded to celebrate Mass as the congregation clapped joyfully seeing that Papa Bene was unharmed (not shown in the video).
Vatican security is reviewing their procedures amid this recent break down in security. But keeping in balance the Pope’s access to his sheep to his safety is a delicate task. Father John Zuhlsdorf has floated the idea of bringing back the sedia gestatoria, the portable papal throne where adequate lines of men would flank the chair bearers.
Preliminary reports have suggested this is the same woman, identified as Susanna Maiolo a Swiss-Italian, also jumped a barrier at an earlier papal procession but was tackled before she could reach Papa Bene. It has been reported that Miss Maiolo appears to be unbalanced, but this hasn’t been confirmed.
Finally the Vatican will pardon her for her attack on the pope and offer leniency (in any future prosecution I assume).
To read the Zenit news blurb on the attack on the Pope click here.
To read Father John Zuhlsdorf’s suggestion for a return to the sedia gestatoria click here.
To read what a sedia gestatoria is by the The Catholic Encyclopedia (1912 version) click here.
To read a more contemporary definition of the sedia gestatoria by Wikipedia click here.
To read the pardon of Susanna Maiolo by Samuel Goldsmith of the New York Daily News click here.