VATICAN CITY - The Vatican will review security procedures after a woman jumped a barrier and rushed at Pope Benedict XVI for the second time in two years, this time managing to knock him down before being pulled away by guards, a Vatican spokesman said yesterday.
Benedict, 82, wasn't hurt and delivered his traditional Christmas Day greetings in 65 languages from the loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square. While a bit unsteady at first, he also delivered a short speech about the world's trouble spots without problem.
The incident in St. Peter's Basilica raised fresh questions about security for the pontiff, however, after officials said that the woman involved had jumped the barrier at the 2008 Midnight Mass in a failed bid to get to the pope. She even wore the same red-hooded sweat shirt.
Italian officials also remarked on the odd similarity of the breach to an assault two weeks ago on Premier Silvio Berlusconi by a man with a history of psychological problems. The attack in Milan broke the premier's nose and two teeth.
The Vatican identified the woman involved in Thursday night's incident as Susanna Maiolo, 25, a Swiss-Italian national with psychiatric problems who was immediately taken to a clinic for treatment. Interior Ministry officials said that she lived in Switzerland, and the ANSA news agency said that she had traveled to Rome specifically for the Mass as she did last year.