Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pope Benedict: Christmas Eve assailant named.

The Holy Father was assailed by a 25 year old Swiss/Italian named Susanna Maiolo. She has a long history of psychiatric instability. This information is reported in our local newspaper, the 'Charente Libre'. According to the same paper she also collided with 87 year old Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who broke his femur as a result. Some are saying that it was his hip, but since the Cardinal is French, I tend to trust the French press. I'm sure my readers are with me in prayer for the poor cardinal and for Susanna Maiolo. I read somewhere earlier today that he had tried to prevent her reaching the Pope and was knocked down as a result.

There appears to be no statement yet to confirm or deny the rumour going around that this woman is the same as the one who attempted an assault on the Pope last year. I should not be surprised to find that she is the same. The exaxt place, style of attack and colour of clothing were all the same, and yet again she went for the Holy Father's neck. Last year it was stated that she wanted to bite it. This year she pulled so violently at the part of his vestments near his throat, that she caused him to fall on the hard marble of St. Peter's nave. 20 years ago I fell on both knees on the tiled floor of our kitchen and I remember the pain to this day. There is no way I could have got to my feet in less than a minute and continued as if nothing had happened. The video that I saw early on Christmas morning caused a physical nausea that lasted at least two hours and for half an hour afterwards I was shaking too much to type the previous post. The Holy Father must have fallen differently. Perhaps his staff and the thickness of all the vestments helped to cushion the impact. Those reactions of mine were an expression of the shock, dread, and then relief that we all felt when it became apparent that our beloved Pope was unhurt and the procession recommenced. As you know I was worried that the Holy Father would suffer a delayed reaction once the Mass was over and he was back in the Apostolic Palace. He has appeared twice since then, once at the "Urbi et Orbi" and again at today's midday Angelus and on both occasions he showed no adverse effects from the incident on Christmas Eve.
This seems miraculous to many, including myself.

After he broke his wrist, the Holy Father said that his guardian angel had permitted it to happen in order to send him to the 'school of humility and patience'. Privately, he is probably now equally convinced that his angel and perhaps many others, if not even higher heavenly Authorities were most definitely looking after him . As for us, it is as if we have been told yet again that the world has desperate need of this most holy Shepherd of love, peace and hope. As many have said before me, he is a precious gift to the Church and the world. The night of December 24th was not the time for him to be taken from us.
Deo gratias! Deo gratias! Deo gratias!

I found Fr. Lombardi's remark that the assailant 'meant no harm' hard to accept. How did he know? Has he interviewed her? Even if she did mean no harm, the truth on all of our minds is that she could have done it, and one shudders to contemplate just how serious that harm may have been. She certainly did great harm to Cardinal Etchegeray.

The whole incident raises issues of the Pope's security, particularly in St. Peter's Basilica, but it also highlights and calls into question the media's policy and practice as regards so-called live coverage and commentary on papal events, particularly when something goes as wrong as it did on Christmas Eve. I hope to cover these issues in another post later today.

A Happy and Peaceful Feast of St. Stephen to everyone.


Sandy said...

Our Ladys mantle is surely covering our holy father.She will crush satans head with her foot!

Mark said...

Lombardi's remarks are increasingly less than conducive.

Could he maybe be replaced? (I am trying to be charitable.)

Jane said...

Sandy, I am of that conviction myself but his angel was there too!

Mark, I understand. I too strive to be charitable, but I'm afraid the best one can say is that he is remarkably inept, particularly for a Jesuit! There were suggestions of his replacement earlier in the year when he mishandled things spectacularly badly. But he's still there and somehow always manages to have a peculiar emphasis. Maybe it's the translators but, oh dear ......there is always something in his comments that makes me feel desperately uncomfortable.

Tim said...

God bless our Holy Father and grant patience, strength and healing to Cardinal Etchegaray. (The hip joint is the neck of the femur -- it was that piece of bone which was unfortunately fractured. A common injury when older people fall, but not to be wished for at any age.)

Jane said...

Thank you for your prayer Tim, and for the medical clarification. A happy and holy Feast of the Holy Family to you and yours.