Pope forgives woman attacker

Susanna Maiolo, a 25-year-old with a history of psychiatric problems, and her family met in a private audience with the pope at the end of his general audience, Vatican spokesman the Rev Federico Lombardi said. Maiolo told the pontiff she was sorry for what had happened, while Benedict inquired about her health and “wanted to demonstrate his forgiveness,” Lombardi said.

Maiolo, a Swiss-Italian national, jumped a security barricade in St Peter’s Basilica at the start of Christmas Eve Mass and pulled the pope down when a security guard tackled her. The pope was unhurt.

Maiolo had tried to reach the pope in the same way during the 2008 Midnight Mass service but didn’t manage to get to him. She has been treated at a clinic outside Rome since the incident.

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