Vatican security scare: man jumps at passing Pontiff
VIDEO: Man Tries to Jump on to Popemobile during
the Pope's public audience on June 6, 2007
Vatican, Jun. 6, 2007 (CWNews.com) - A young man attempted to jump into the "popemobile" carrying Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) to his regular weekly public audience on Wednesday, June 6. The man was subdued by Vatican security guards.
An unidentified man leapt over a crowd-control barrier as the Pope passed in his open vehicle. The guards surrounding the popemobile wrestled the man to the ground as the car passed.
Pope Benedict was unharmed, and it was not clear that he was aware of the commotion behind him. The Pontiff continued riding at the same pace, smiling and giving his blessing to the crowd.
There was no evidence that the man intended to harm the Pope. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, later told reporters that the man seemed motivated by a desire for publicity.
Nevertheless the Wednesday incident drew attention to the growing concerns about security at papal events. Pope Benedict has consistently drawn enormous crowds for his weekly audiences, and thousands of people routinely surge toward the popemobile hoping for a closer look at the Pontiff. Vatican security officials have occasionally expressed concern about the Pope's indifference to questions about his personal safety.
The Pope generally circles St. Peter's Square before his public audience, with the popemobile looping through the crowd before bringing the Holy Father to the podium set up in front of the Vatican basilica. During the last years of his pontificate John Paul II had made that circuit in a customized vehicle with a bulletproof glass bubble, so that he could stand and be seen by the crowd without exposing himself to danger. Pope Benedict has chosen to make his appearances standing in an open vehicle.
The man who sought to jump into the popemobile on Wednesday was being held by Vatican officials later in the day. Informed sources at the Vatican said that the man appeared to be unstable.
News Courtesy: Catholic World News