Statement on Visit by Pope's Personal Secretary to Ms Maiolo


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(03 Jan 10 - RV) On Sunday the Vatican Press office released a communiqué in which it confirms that in recent days the Holy Father's personal secretary, Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, has visited Miss Susanna Maiolo.

The 25 year old woman, who has a history of mental health problems, is currently being treated in a private clinic, in the wake of her attempt to accost Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter's Basilica on Christmas Eve.

The Vatican Statement says that Msgr Gaenswein made the visit at the express wish of Pope Benedict who wishes to be kept informed of her situation.

Ms Maiolo of dual Swiss-Italian nationality breached security barriers in St Peter's Basilica at the beginning of Christmas Eve Mass as the Pope passed in procession down through the central nave.

On Sunday Director of the Vatican Press Office Fr Federico Lombardi stated that the visit was of a private and confidential nature, and only became public following an Italian newspaper report.

He also emphasised that the trial against Ms Maiolo launched by the judiciary of Vatican City State will follow its natural course until its completion.