24 December 2009

The Person of the Vicar of Christ Assaulted at Midnight Mass

May God protect our Holy Father. He gets the same respect his Master did. From Yahoo News:

Woman knocks down pope at Christmas Eve Mass

VATICAN CITY – A woman jumped the barriers in St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict XVI at the start of Christmas Eve Mass, but the 82-year-old pontiff got up unhurt and proceeded as planned with Thursday's service.

Witness video obtained by The Associated Press showed a woman dressed in a red hooded sweat shirt vaulting over the wooden barriers that cordoned off the basilica's main aisle and rushing toward the pope before being swarmed by bodyguards.

The video showed the woman grabbing the pope's vestments as she was taken down by guards, with Benedict then falling on top of her.

The commotion occurred as the pope's procession was making its way toward the main altar and shocked gasps rang out among the thousands who packed the basilica. The procession came to a halt, the music stopped and security rushed to the trouble spot.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini said the woman appeared to be mentally unstable and had been taken into custody by Vatican police. He said she also knocked down Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was taken to hospital for a checkup.

"During the procession an unstable person jumped a barrier and knocked down the Holy Father," Benedettini told The AP by telephone. "(The pope) quickly got up and continued the procession."

It was the second year in a row that there had been a security breach at the Christmas Eve service and this was the most serious incident involving the public in Benedict's five-year papacy. At the end of last year's Mass, a woman who had jumped the barriers got close to the pope but was quickly blocked on the ground by security.

That woman too wore a red hooded sweat shirt, but Benedettini said it was not immediately known if the same person was behind Thursday's incident.


Benedict lost his miter and his staff in the fall. He remained on the ground for a few seconds before being helped back up by attendants. At that point, a few shouts of "viva il papa!" (long live the pope!) rang out, followed by cheers from the faithful, witnesses said.

After getting up, Benedict, flanked by tense bodyguards, resumed his walk to the basilica's main altar to start the Mass. The pope, who broke his right wrist in a fall this summer, appeared unharmed but somewhat shaken and leaned heavily on aides and an armrest as he sat down in his chair.


Benedict made no reference to the disturbance after the service started. As a choir sang, he sprinkled incense on the altar before opening the Mass with the traditional wish for peace in Latin.

The incident was the first time a potential attacker came into direct contact with Benedict, and underscored concerns by security analysts who have frequently warned the pope is too exposed in his public appearances.


Kansas Catholic said...


I had the same thought when I saw the Pope being dragged to the ground face forward: He must be the Vicar of Christ since he is being treated the same way.

Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family and to all Saint Louis Catholics!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Timman, for not jumping to any political conclusions on this. Heard a few comments already by people attributing this to both sides of the political spectrum.

Priests (and Popes) can never be prepared for every contingent that might happen, but Pope B was exceptional in simply carrying on Christ's message.

Anonymous said...

It is a miracle that he did not get a broken wrist in this attack. The speed with which he went down was scarey. She even wore the same color as last year. Next year they have to have a spotter whose job is just to scout whether she is there again. This is the new Western way of treating the mentally ill: pretend they are better off within society and taking meds on their own. Translation: we don't want to be billed for institutions and their personnel. Over the years Manhattan has had a number of murders and subway pushings into trains thanks to this new approach to mental health.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 16:12,
How to work with the mentally ill is a problem that many have worked with over the years. Ronald Reagan listened to the arguments, and said that it is not fair to institutionalize the mentally ill against their wishes, freeing thousands upon thousands of them. The result - an immediate jump in the number of homeless roaming the streets, a small savings in taxes spent to house them, and the freedom that these people 'deserved.'

It is right to protect society from individuals who could harm others. I'm not sure this woman actually falls squarely in this category.

The dilemma that society faces: the right to allow individuals freedom to live however they choose to live (as Reagan chose, even if it means an immediate jump from institutions to being homeless), and the right to institutionalize people who would harm themselves, as maybe Anon at 16:12 and so many others might say.

Stereotypes Unfair said...

Why is this woman assumed to be mentally ill? Maybe she is, but why are almost all violent criminals assumed to be mentally ill? Has anyone ever heard of evil intent? Remember the devil? Very few truly mentally ill are a menance to society, That is an unfair stereotype. I can think of many evil people who are a menance though. Lets start with Hasan, the Muslim soldier who massacred his fellow American soldiers.

Oh, yes, now they are trying to blame that on "mental illness" because nobody could really be that evil. Even someone whe spewed American hatred on internet sites and to fellow soldiers.