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Pope's secretary brings Pope's greetings to Christmas-eve assailant

January 04, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI sent his private secretary, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, to visit the woman who knocked him down during the procession at midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

Msgr. Gänswein visited Susanna Maiolo on New Year’s day at the psychiatric hospital where she has been confined since the incident. Maiolo leapt over a crowd-control barrier in the Vatican basilica to reach the Pontiff, pulling him to the floor by grabbing his vestments. She had made a similar effort to reach the Pope a year earlier.

Pope Benedict sent his secretary to assure Maiolo that he had pardoned her, realizing that she did not intend to harm him, said Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office. Father Lombardi said that an investigation of the case, and an inquiry into Maiolo’s mental health, would proceed on course.


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