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Woman knocks down Pope, cardinal at Christmas Eve Mass

December 24, 2009

A woman, apparently deranged, charged at Pope Benedict during the entrance processional at Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, knocking down the Holy Father and Cardinal Roger Etchegaray. Pope Benedict, apparently uninjured, got up and celebrated the Mass; Cardinal Etchegaray, the 87-year-old vice dean of the College of Cardinals, was taken to an emergency room for a broken leg.

In a December 25 statement, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi identified the woman as Susanna Maiolo, a 25-year-old Italian and Swiss citizen. She had unsuccessfully attempted to run towards the Pontiff at Midnight Mass last year.


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