Questions raised over Vatican security arrangements after woman attacks Pope

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London, Dec. 26 (ANI): Vatican security arrangements have come under fire after Pope Benedict XVI was toppled during the Christmas Eve mass by a woman who had attempted a similar attack last year.

Susanna Maiolo, a Swiss-Italian national with psychiatric problems, jumped the barricade at the start of the service mass in St Peter's Basilica and was able to push past security guards to reach the Pope, knocking him down in a chaotic papal mishap.

The Pope was uninjured, but a prominent French cardinal who was near the Pope also fell, and was hospitalised with a broken hip.

Questions are being asked as to why Maiolo, 25, who jumped the barricade at midnight mass last year wearing a red sweatshirt similar to the one she wore on December 24, was allowed into the service.

The pope is protected by a combination of Swiss Guards, Vatican police and Italian police.

Since the 9/11 on the US, the Vatican has tightened security at events where the pope is present. All visitors must pass by police to get into the square, with those entering the basilica going through metal detectors or being scanned by metal-detecting wands.

However, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that it was "impossible to prevent every possibility of something happening" as the pontiff wanted to maintain a "direct, pastoral relationship with people".

Benedict, who appeared a bit unsteady as he approached his chair to deliver Christmas address, made no reference to the disturbance after the service started or in his Christmas blessing today.

However, he appealed people to "abandon all logic of violence and revenge" and lead with "generosity" on "the path of peaceful coexistence." (ANI)

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