Pope forgives his attacker

POPE Benedict XVI yesterday met the woman who knocked him over at St Peter's Basilica during Christmas Eve Mass - and forgave her.

POPE Benedict XVI yesterday met the woman who knocked him over at St Peter's Basilica during Christmas Eve Mass - and forgave her.

Susanna Maiolo, who has a history of psychiatric problems, met the pope - together with her family - at the end of his general audience, Vatican spokesperson the Reverend Federico Lombardi said.

Maiolo told the pontiff she was sorry for what had happened, while the pope enquired about her health and "wanted to demonstrate his forgiveness," Lombardi said.

The Vatican said no photos would be released of the meeting. Maiolo, a Swiss-Italian national, jumped a barricade in St Peter's Basilica and pulled Benedict down as a security guard tackled her. The pope was unhurt.

Maiolo also tried to reach the pope during the 2008 Midnight Mass service but didn't manage to get to him. She has been receiving treatment at a clinic outside Rome since the incident. - Sapa-AP

X