Vatican Note on Christmas Eve Incident


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(25 Dec 09 - RV) Last night during the entrance procession of the Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter's Basilica, a woman with mental health problems - 25 year old Susanna Maiolo, of Italian and Swiss citizenship - jumped over the security barrier and, despite the intervention of security officers, managed to reach the Holy Father and to grasp his pallium, causing him to lose his balance and stumble to the ground.

The Pope was able to quickly recover and resume the procession. The celebration was subsequently held without any further problems.

Unfortunately in the confusion which arose, Cardinal Etchegaray fell, and fractured his femur. He has been hospitalized, his condition is good, but he will be subjected to an operation in coming days.

Maiolo, who was not armed, but who has previously shown signs of psychological imbalances, was admitted to a health clinic, for medical care.

As for the Holy Father, his current program remains unchanged.