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Thursday, December 24, 2009



Of course the story won't be complete if the 82 year old pontif and the 70 something cardinal who were knocked down don't publicly say that they "forgive" this nutter - and that makes it all right.

George Herger

Blessed, Merry Christmas to all.

Thank the Lord the Pope was not hurt. But, an aged Cardinal suffered a broken leg. A speedy recovery, please God.

Ed Peters

Fine, we can all agree with Lombardi that it's impossible to protect the pope from 100% of possible threats. But does that mean this case gets written off as, "Well, things are gonna happen."?

What irks me here is not so much the initial assault, or the good speed of the first guard, it was the casual way the rest of the guards walked over to the site. Suppose the woman had a hand free with gun? Suppose she had body explosives or a pack of 'white powder'? When Reagan was shot, video footage showed the nutjob SMOTHERED in bodyguards till they knew exactly what they were dealing with. I did not see that here in the videos I've seen. Nor did I see any one move the pope back away from the site, (did they know the assailant was working alone?,) instead they helped him up into good-target position again.

Ed Peters

Here's a simple suggestion. Skip these interminable entrance processions. They have become exercises in pagentry (witness the storm of camera flashes), and are not prayerful preparations for the incipient liturgy. Consider, when the pope gives of Wednesday addresses, etc., he almost comes a (presumably) secure space to a point with limited exposure to the crowds. But these grandious processions are just the opposite, he moves with unlimited exposure AND with no safe retreat direction. If the crowd wants a show before Mass, give them a line of candlebearers and cardinals, but have the pope enter from the back, with a much shorter walk and much more controllable path.


That is not a bad idea. I thought the guard on his left performed superbly. I would imagine it's easy to "freeze" in situations like that (cf. the Kennedy assassination), but he reacted instantly.

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

What a lack of thoughtful care for our beloved Holy Father. He is the most precious person in our Church and we notice that the whole Vatican Security apparatus suffers from blatant carelessness. Dr Peters is right, such procession should be seriously re-considered in order to prevent unexpected vulnerability.
It was telling to advert the calmness in some of the security personnel while approaching the scene where the Pope had been brought down by the swiss woman.
We must thank God that Benedict XVI came out fine from such preventable incident.+

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