Friday, December 25, 2009

The Pope is saved

Where are the Swiss Guard boys when you need them?!

(Photo by Pete Souza, July 10, 2009)
Some 15,000 visitors came to Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem last night and all went peacefully, thank God.
But not so at the Vatican!

(My photo from the Papal Mass in Jerusalem, May 2009)
At about 10 p.m. Rome time, as the procession of clergy was entering St. Peter's Basilica, an "unstable" woman jumped the barricade and rushed toward Pope Benedict.
Before being swarmed by plainclothes bodyguards (not the Swiss Guard), the Jerusalem Post says "She grabbed the pope's vestments as she was taken down, with Benedict seemingly falling on top of her."
Cardinal Roger Etchegaraywas also knocked down in the commotion and was taken to hospital with a broken leg.
Strange. As the live transmission of the Midnight Mass began, I remember praying over my computer, "Please Pope Baruch, don't fall. Don't let anyone attack you. Be safe!"
(It is the old Jewish Mother syndrome. We worry.)
Suddenly the Vaticano CTV webcast went blank and my heart skipped a beat.
But it soon resumed, showing the Pope already at the altar. I wondered why he looked sad. Sad on Christmas Eve?
Only two hours later, when the nice Mass was ended, did I hear about the incident on Israel radio news.
The woman in the red hooded sweatshirt can be seen as she was caught on this video.
Good for you, Your Holiness, for picking yourself up and continuing to lead your people in the praise of God. Sei gesund und stark, Pope Baruch.
Merry Christmas to you and all.
UPDATE: CNS (Catholic News Service blog) just published more details, including this shocking item:
"Vatican sources confirmed that the woman was the same person who attempted to rush the pope at Midnight Mass last year, but was tackled by guards before she could reach the pontiff."
CNS also posts a good amateur video of the woman filmed from right behind her.
You think she will try again next year?? Oi veh!


Kay said...

Hi Dina! I've got insomnia. I went to sleep just fine and then woke up at 1:00. Arrrghh! Anyway, it's nice to find you're there and I can write you. I will try to go to sleep after I write this though... I'll try....

Anyway, we saw this incident several times in the evening news tonight. It was really incredible. It's frightening because it shows you that if there's somebody crazy enough, these important leaders are really quite vulnerable. The best security people cannot be 100% perfect protection. Thank goodness it was sort of OK in the end. We didn't hear about the broken leg though. That's awful!

This is such a beautiful post, Dina. I just love how you embrace all religions with love and respect. You have always been my role model. You even got Jon and Sarah to leave a comment on your blog!

Have a great day!

Reader Wil said...

The moment I was reading your post I also heard the news on TV. There are always deranged people who want commit an attempt to get on the frontpage of the newspapers. This year our queen was attacked by someone who was mentally disturbed.
You have written a great post, something to think about as always. I wish you and anybody who reads this: Peace on earth and the coming of the light again.

Dimple said...

I am glad no one was more seriously hurt or killed, it seems so often that these incidents end much more tragically.

Leif Hagen said...

Oi veh! Unbelievable! Glad the Vatican incident worked out ok in the end! Out to sled in the snow this afternoon behind my wife's parents' house!

FA said...

Hi Dina. My other good Jewish friends don't mind when I wish them "Happy Christmas", I hope you don't mind that I, with all due respect, do the same for you..."Happy Christmas". It comes from the heart.

I heard about this St. Peter's incident late last night. Thanks be to God the Holy Father was not hurt. LONG LIVE THE POPE!

I'm curious about your title for the Holy Father: Pope Baruch. It sounds tender and loving. Could you explain it, please?

Robin said...

The same woman? And they didn't manage to keep her on some kind of watchlist? Oy vey is right.

I admit that my first thought was "thank god it wasn't here"...

Dina said...

Kay, hope you get back to normal sleep hours soon.
Yeah, you're right about the security. I was so relieved when the Pope finished his visit in Israel and nothing bad had happened.
The Cardinal will need an operation.
I'm honored to have a comment from Jon and Sarah.

Wil, yes, I remember the Queen on the open bus incident.
Yes, let there be peace and light, first of all in people's heart.

Dimple, true. Luckily she was not armed. You remember how dear Frere Roger of Taize was killed?

Leif, oi veh is right.
Have fun sledding. Sounds great.

FA, I know, there is sort of a linguistic/cultural void when Christmas comes and no one knows how to greet Jews. If your saying "Happy Christmas" means you want to include me in the joy and love of the day, fine, thank you.

Benedict or benedictus means blessed, and the Hebrew word for that is baruch; Baruch is also a men's name.
Pope Baruch is not my idea. I heard a priest monk use it in a Hebrew-speaking Mass in Jerusalem.
I like it. It makes the pontiff sound almost like one of us. :)

Robin, fashlot happen. As you say, fortunately not on OUR watch it happened.
I wonder if they check bags or IDs of people going to Masses like this one.

afv said...

Ha! that was near...hope she won't do it again next year. I'm just wondering what's behind her story. :) Have a wonderful Christmas from L.A.DP!

Pietro said...

For the Pope a fall like that could have been a serious injury. Luckily he is safe. I've been anxious about him.

Petrea said...

Baruch is a word I've heard in Chanukah prayers, too, is that correct? I used to go to an annual Chanukah party until my friends who hosted it divorced. Ah, well. They're both still my friends.

What the heck? It's Christmas, whether one celebrates it or not. Might as well wish everyone a happy one, no?

RuneE said...

Violence of any kind is contemptible - even more so when it show a total disrespect of 100s of millions of people's gravest beliefs.