Friday, December 25, 2009

Vatican admits pontiff vulnerable to assault in public

The Vatican has said it is impossible to protect the Pope from incidents like that on Thursday night, when a woman grabbed him at Christmas Eve Mass.

Spokesman Frederico Lombardi said the Pope was regularly surrounded by tens of thousands of people at audiences, Masses, greetings and other events. 

He said it was unthinkable to create a wall between the Pope and the faithful. 

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, himself recently attacked in public, warned of "hatred and extremism". 

The Pope was not injured when Susanna Maiolo, 25, hurled herself at him in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican but an elderly French cardinal standing nearby, Roger Etchegaray, suffered a broken hip. 

The woman, who tried to throw herself at Benedict at the same Christmas Eve service one year ago, is now receiving psychiatric treatment and Mr Lombardi said he thought she would be dealt with very leniently by the Vatican. read more

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