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Pope's secretary visits woman who floored pontiff
ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's personal secretary has visited a woman who knocked the 82-year-old pontiff to the ground before Christmas Eve mass and expressed the pope's concern for her situation, the Vatican said on Sunday.
But Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that a judicial case opened against 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo by Vatican authorities would "run its course."
"The Holy Father's personal secretary, Georg Gaenswein, conducted a private visit to Miss Maiolo, expressing the Holy Father's interest in her situation," Lombardi said in a statement.
Maiolo shocked the Catholic world and Vatican security when she jumped over a barricade in St. Peter's Basilica as the pope was walking in procession up the main aisle to start the mass.
The Swiss-Italian woman, who tried to jump a barricade to get close to the pope at the previous year's Christmas mass, grabbed Benedict's vestments and caused him to fall to the marble floor.
French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, 87, was also knocked down and suffered a broken femur bone.
Il Giornale newspaper reported that Gaenswein visited Maiolo on January 1 in a hostel for people with psychiatric problems where she is being held, in the town of Subiaco near Rome.
The paper said Gaenswein brought her a rosary and said the pope believed in her good intentions and had pardoned her, as had Etchegaray.
(Editing by Tim Pearce)
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