Everywhere Pope Benedict has been out of the Vatican and Italy, security has been impeccable. All the governments involved made absolutely sure of that, well as far as is possible. The French even had a satellite watching things during his visit to Paris and Lourdes last year. Loyal and loving Catholics throughout the world know this and most of them know how much it cost, and yet this latest incident was allowed to happen in the Vatican, in the Pope's own home. We should be ashamed.
No wonder such Catholics are united (for once) in demanding that something more be done to ensure the safety of their Holy Father. In general it seems that although some would like a return of the 'sedia gestatoria', most realise that carrying the Pope aloft would expose him to snipers, and a commenter who said that such a worry in the basilica was over-dramatic is not living in our present world. No, in my view, our Holy Father should remain firmly on the ground. The monarchical symbolism of the former ceremonies, whilst comprehensible and valued in tradition, would be totally against his personality and the spirit of his pontificate. However, he should be closely flanked, as in the past, by the Swiss Guard and the Noble Guard. Unless of course the men in black suits are in mufti, which I doubt. Anyone leaping a barrier is more likely to be deterred by a Swiss Guard doing the job he is vowed to do, that is to defend the Holy Father, first with his pike, and if necessary with his own life. I say the Swiss Guard should be given back their teeth and free exercise of their holy vow. They are not, and should not any longer be merely decorative symbols. (And did you know that the majority of Swiss vocations to the priesthood come from their ranks after they have served their year?
Tomorrow: the peculiar matter of media coverage of Christmas Eve in St. Peter's.