Susanna Maiolo

Two days after being tackled by a woman inside St. Peter's Basilica before Christmas Eve mass, Pope Benedict XVI "appeared in good shape" as he spoke to followers from a window at the Vatican today. However, the Vatican is deciding whether or not to press charges against the young woman and will be reviewing its papal security.

It turned out that the woman, Italian-Swiss national Susanna Maiolo, had tried to tackle Pope Benedict during last year's mass but didn't get past a barrier. This year, she managed to grab the Pope's vestments and drag him down; an elderly cardinal also fell and broke his hip. The Vatican said that Maiolo, who is under observation at a mental institution, would be forgiven, with spokesman Rev. Frederico Lombardi explaining that the Vatican is "usually benevolent" plus Maiolo is "apparently unbalanced... It was an assault, but it wasn't dangerous because she wasn't armed."

Regarding Pope Benedict's accessibility to the public, Father Lombardi added, "People want to see him up close, and he’s pleased to see them closely too. A zero risk doesn’t seem realistic in a situation in which there’s a direct rapport with the people."