Pope Benedict meets with woman who attacked him

After his General Audience today, the Holy Father met briefly in private with the woman who assaulted him and broke Card. Etchegaray’s leg at the Christmas Eve Mass.  Susanna Maiolo was with some members of her family.  He conveyed to her his forgiveness and best wishes for her health.

From the VIS:


A fine mattinata, il Direttore della Sala Stampa della Santa Sede, P. Federico Lombardi, S.I., ha rilasciato ai giornalisti la seguente dichiarazione:

Al termine dell’Udienza generale di questa mattina, il Santo Padre ha avuto un breve incontro privato con la Signorina Susanna Maiolo, nell’auletta attigua all’Aula Paolo VI.

La Signorina Maiolo ha espresso al Santo Padre il suo dispiacere per quanto avvenuto all’inizio della celebrazione della notte di Natale; per parte sua, il Papa ha voluto manifestarle il suo perdono, come pure il proprio cordiale interessamento e augurio per la sua salute.

La Signorina Maiolo era accompagnata da due suoi familiari.

Per quanto riguarda l’istruttoria avviata dalla magistratura dello Stato della Città del Vaticano, essa continuerà il suo iter fino ad espletamento.

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  1. chcrix says:

    Am I the only one who feels that this may not be entirely wise?

    I fully endorse the forgiveness.

    But, what is the chance that I could have a private audience with the Holy Father? I estimate somewhere between slim and none.

    Yet the news reports said that the lady’s motivation was that she wanted to meet the pope. Hasn’t she been rewarded for her misconduct with something that many others would give their eye teeth for?

    Perhaps this should have been in the form of a letter?

    Or, am I too cold and cynical?

  2. Actually, we’d probably be surprised whom the Pope has really really private audiences with.

    But it’s difficult to forgive someone, and make it clear to them that they are forgiven, by sending them a get well card after they did their best to clobber you. Pope JPII met with his assassin many times. It may or may not have done the poor crazy man any good, but it doesn’t seem to have encouraged other people to try to assassinate JPII in order to meet him in person.

    Anyway, it’s not our decision to make. We all have our own enemies to deal with, instead.

  3. avecrux says:

    She is his child – and he will feel responsibility towards her – perhaps even moreso because she is so messed up. I’m sure the Pope would want to meet all his children if he could – but he can’t – so he has to meet with those for whom it is deemed most urgent. I think his vulnerability flows from his identity as a spiritual father who loves his children. I don’t think he can remove that vulnerability from the office, so it may look imprudent in a crazy world – but at the end of the day, we have to trust God to protect him and pray for him daily.

  4. Agnes says:

    It’s very difficult for human beings to extend forgiveness; we tend to cling to our grudges. God forgives the repentant sinner even if the world does not. What a great example this Papa sets for his confuzzled lambs.

  5. RichardT says:

    It’s an encouraging sign that her family were there. Too often the disturbed are abandoned to institutions, and so get worse.

  6. EnoughRope says:

    chcrix: I think this is like the prodigal son. Some people are good and never get their “reward”, while those who are bad get the “banquet”. The pope is like Christ in the sense that he is physician of the sick, not the healthy.

  7. James Locke says:

    Ehh. I think that this action by the Pope while on the surface seems to be rewarding bad behavior, on a deeper level shows the significance of his compassion and forgiveness to even those who are deranged. SO I think that while this meeting was perhaps not a PR move, it was instead a religious move.

  8. Prof. Basto says:

    The one to whom Miss Maiolo really needs to apologize to is Cardinal Etchegaray, that ended up with a broken femur, something that is very very serious at his age.

    Some people his age never get to walk again afer a femur injury.

    Yes, the Holy Father is the Holy Father but in this case it was Cardinal Etchegaray that suffered the most, and ergo he should be the main recipient of apologies.

    I wonder, now that she has been granted her wish of a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican, if Miss Maiolo will do what is really important and take the less glamurous step of going to the hospital to convey her apologies to the recently operated Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals.

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