Pope knocked down by woman at Christmas Mass

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Posted: Dec 24, 2009 6:58 PM by Associated Press
Updated: Dec 24, 2009 7:02 PM

  Rating: 3.0 (3 votes)

Topics: Pope Benedict, Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, mass, Christmas Eve, woman, barrier

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.

Video shot by a witness showed the woman grabbing the pope's vestments as she was taken down, with Benedict seemingly falling on top of her.

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.

A spokesman 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.

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