Skip to comments.New security as pope leads Mass for Epiphany
Posted on 01/06/2010 9:39:49 AM PST by NYer
Pope Benedict XVI kissed babies and shook the outstretched hands of faithful in St. Peter's Basilica as he walked up an aisle widened for security following the Christmas Eve scare when a woman scrambled over a barrier and knocked him down.
Benedict celebrated Mass to mark Epiphany, the Jan. 6 holy day commonly referred to as the feast of the Three Kings, or Magi, during the last main public ceremony of the Vatican's holiday season.
As the pope, wearing gold colored vestments, a long, lacy cassock and red shoes, made his way to the main altar, he strode up the central aisle, widened by about 1.5 meters (5 feet) as part of heightened security precautions that were put in place after a young woman climbed over a barrier during his entrance procession on the night of Dec. 24, when the basilica was packed with thousands of people for Christmas Eve Mass.
Pope Benedict XVI kisses a child during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to mark Epiphany, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010. The Epiphany day, is a joyous day for Catholics in which they recall the journey of the Three Kings or Magi to pay homage to Baby Jesus.
The woman, who has a history of psychological problems, grabbed the pope's vestments, pulling him down to the marble floor. The 82-year-old pope was shaken but unhurt. An elderly French cardinal who fell during the commotion broke his hip. The Italian-Swiss woman is being treated at a psychiatric clinic near Rome while the Vatican investigates.
The extra space in the aisle was achieved by pushing back the red-curtained barriers at the ends of the rows where the faithful sit by about 30 inches (75 centimeters) on either side. The measure gives pope's security detail more space to maneuver.
But while the measure widens the gap between the pontiff and the public, Benedict seemed determined to give his flock the message that he intends to keep in contact with them.
Arriving and leaving the basilica, he moved to the left and right of the aisle to shake some of the many outstretched hands. At one point he patted a baby on the head, then kissed the infant and the hand of the woman holding the child.
Benedict smiled broadly as he moved his hand in blessing or waved to the faithful, who pass through metal detectors before attending public ceremonies at the Vatican.
During the Mass, a long line of faithful came up to the pope and kneeled before him to receive the Communion wafer. They could only approach the central altar after security personnel let them pass.
Recent history shows that even physical barriers aren't enough to stop those wanting to get close to the pontiff - or do him harm.
In 1981, the Turkish gunman who shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II during his customary Wednesday audience in St. Peter's Square was standing a few rows behind people who were pressed up against security barriers. He fired from that position as the pontiff passed in his open popemobile.
Two years ago, a German man with psychiatric problems jumped a security barrier in the square and grabbed hold of the popemobile carrying Benedict. The man was swiftly pinned to the ground by the Vatican security men who run behind and beside the vehicle.
The woman who pulled the pope down last month had managed to scramble over the basilica aisle barrier exactly a year earlier, in the 2008 Christmas Eve ceremony. She even wore the same red hooded sweat shirt, but went undetected by security guards eyeing the crowd.
In his homily Wednesday, Benedict blamed lack of "authentic humility" and "courage" for what he said was a shortage of faith.
After the Mass, as he greeted the public in St. Peter's Square from his studio window, offering good wishes for those in Eastern Churches celebrating Christmas on Jan. 7. He described the three kings as "models for authentic searchers of the truth."
Wishing our Orthodox friends a Blessed Christmas .
The Mardi Gras season is now officially open. Time for King Cakes.
Wise Men from the East [Ecumenical - with a question]
Feast of the Epiphany (2)
Feast of the Epiphany (1)
Epiphany (when the Gentile visitors brought gifts) [Ecumenical]
Twelfth Night [Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany]
Epiphany Revealed (Did the Wise Men Really Have Names?)
For the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord 'Three Kings' Seek, Find, and Worship the Lord
The Universal King
Helena's (Mother of Constantine) Epiphany Meditation
EPIPHANY - THREE KINGS - January 6 (Holy Day of Obligation)
I could think of better way have Raiders draft that crazy woman we need good tackle on Raiders I am serious
I noticed the new security measures at Vespers on New Year’s Eve. The aisle was wider, there were more security personnel walking between the procession and the congregation and there were security personnel stationed along the sides of the aisle.
You will know they are serious when they bring in the “bow wows”. (just kidding) Thank you for the updated info.
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