About that attack on the Pope last night… this comes from Hell’s Bible (aka New York Times):
Woman Who Lunged at Pope Tried Same Thing Last Year
By RACHEL DONADIO
Published: December 25, 2009
ROME — 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 Vatican said Friday.
The Vatican identified the woman as Susanna Maiolo, 25, a Swiss and Italian citizen with a history of mental problems, and said she was not armed.
The attempt last year came after Midnight Mass last year, said Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, but guards stopped her before she did any harm.
Television cameras show a woman in a red jacket leaping over the barriers as the papal procession entered the main aisle of Saint Peter’s, and security guards leaping toward her. The pope, 82, and an 87-year-old French cardinal, Roger Etchegaray, fell.
The cardinal broke his femur, Father Lombardi said, but is recovering well at a Rome hospital.
The incident alarmed the crowds and Saint Peter’s on one of the most momentous events in the Roman Catholic calendar and raised questions about the level of security surrounding the pope, who traditionally receives his flock during the Christmas season. Father Lombardi said that the Vatican had to balance the pope’s pastoral role with security concerns. “If the pope wants to be among people, it is impossible to have total security,” he said.
Father Lombardi said that Ms. Maiolo was being monitored in a medical facility and that she had not been arrested. He said he did not know whether the Vatican would pursue any legal consequences. The Vatican, an independent state, would have to formally petition Italian authorities on any judicial action.
Benedict is said to be in fine health, but he had moved Christmas Eve Mass to 10 p.m. from midnight to save his strength for his demanding public schedule during the holidays.
On Friday, Benedict looked well as he gave his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” message “to the city and the world” and offered Christmas greetings in a host of different languages from the loggia of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
In his message, Benedict said that the Catholic Church was in solidarity with “a human family profoundly affected by a grave financial crisis, yet even more by a moral crisis, and by the painful wounds of wars and conflicts.”
He spoke of the conflict in Iraq and the “little flock of Christians” in the Middle East. “At times it is subject to violence and injustice, but it remains determined to make its own contribution to the building of a society opposed to the logic of conflict and the rejection of one’s neighbor,” Benedict said.
The pope also singled out the situation of Christians in Sri Lanka, the Korean Peninsula and the Philippines, and in Africa called for more human rights in Guinea and Niger, and “begged” for an end to conflict in Madagascar.