Pope knocked down at start of Christmas Mass in Vatican

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  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Pope knocked down at start of Christmas Mass in Vatican

    Pope knocked down at start of Christmas Mass in Vatican | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire
     
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  3. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Christmas celebrations begin; woman knocks down pope at Mass

    (CNN) -- A woman jumped a barrier at the start of Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down the pope, briefly disrupting ceremonies.
    Screams erupted from onlooking worshippers when the woman ran toward Pope Benedict XVI and grabbed onto his vestments as he walked down the main aisle of the church, video footage showed.
    He was quickly helped to his feet by his aides -- prompting cheers from the crowd -- and the service was resumed, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told CNN.
    The woman was removed by Vatican guards, Lombardi said.
    John Allen, senior Vatican analyst for CNN, said such security breaches aren't uncommon.
    "As compared to say, the president of the United States, the security membrane around the pope is pretty thin and fairly permeable," he said, citing similar past incidents, including one that happened last Christmas Eve.
    Allen said that generally, these disruptions are caused by people who aren't seeking real harm, but who want to be close to the pope.
    Benedict began what has traditionally been a midnight Mass at the Vatican at 10 p.m. as officials sought to keep the 82-year-old pontiff from a late night.
    Celebrants in Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus in the West Bank, however, joined the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal for a midnight Mass attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials.
    Outside the Church of the Nativity, erected over the site Christian tradition says was the place of Jesus' birth, the faithful gathered under the watchful eyes of heavily armed Palestinian police.
    Gallery: Christmas Eve around the world
    But Palestinian shopkeeper Nadia Hazboun said the security situation in the West Bank has improved in the time since the militant Hamas group took over Gaza and Abbas' Fatah movement abandoned the narrow strip of land between Israel and the Mediterranean for the West Bank.
    "It was bad, now it is good," he told Voice of America radio. "I told you, before anybody take the law in his [own] hands. But now the law [is] with the police. We have security, we have calm, we have now the best situation in Bethlehem."Were you there? Share pictures, video
    Christmas Eve in Bethlehem is a popular destination for American Christians, including Iowan Paul Edelman.
    "Just the festivities, the idea that this is the birthplace of Christ, and you get to see all the historic places and share it with people from around the world; it's a very nice experience," he told Voice of America radio.

    Christmas celebrations begin; woman knocks down pope at Mass - CNN.com
     
  4. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Woman knocks down Pope at Christmas Eve Mass

    VATICAN CITY – A woman jumped the barriers in St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict XVI as he walked down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass on Thursday.
    The 82-year-old pope quickly got up and was unhurt, said a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini. Footage aired on Italy's RAI state TV showed a woman dressed in a red jumper vaulting over the wooden barriers and rushing the pope before being swarmed by bodyguards.
    The commotion occurred as the pope's procession was making its way toward the main altar and shocked gasps rang out through the public that packed the basilica. The procession came to a halt and security rushed to the trouble spot.
    Benedettini said the woman who pushed the pope appeared to be mentally unstable and had been arrested by Vatican police. He said she also knocked down Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was taken to hospital for a check up.
    "During the procession an unstable person jumped a barrier and knocked down the Holy Father," Benedettini told The Associated Press by telephone. "(The pope) quickly got up and continued the procession."
    After the incident, Benedict, flanked by tense bodyguards, resumed his walk to the basilica's main altar to start the Mass. He did appear somewhat shaken and leaned heavily on aides and an armrest as he sat down in his chair.
    Benedict made no reference to the incident as the service started. As a choir sang, he sprinkled incense on the altar before opening the Mass with the traditional wish for peace in Latin: "Pax vobis" ("Peace be with you"). The faithful responded: "Et cum spiritu tuo" ("And also with you").
    It was the second year in a row there was a security breach at the service. At the end of last year's Mass a woman who had jumped the barriers got close to the pope but was quickly blocked on the ground by security.
    Benedettini said it was not immediately known if the same woman was behind Thursday's incident.

    Woman knocks down Pope at Christmas Eve Mass - Yahoo! News
     

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