VATICAN CITY, JUNE 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- A man leaped over security barricades after the general audience and briefly held on to the popemobile before security guards restrained him. Benedict XVI was not harmed.
The Pope, in fact, did not seem to notice the activity, as everything happened behind his back as he greeted the people.
The Vatican later clarified that the 27-year-old man, of German nationality, suffers from a mental disability and was not trying to harm the Holy Father, but just wanted to attract attention.
The episode lasted only a few seconds, close to the obelisk located in the center of the square.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said that the “young man was blocked by the Vatican police and was arrested to conduct necessary investigations.”
An interrogation found that the young man’s intention was not to harm the Pope but “to act in such a way that it would call attention to himself,” added Father Lombardi.
“Due to evidence of mental disturbances, psychiatrists of the Vatican Hospital intervened and decided that the young man should be hospitalized and undergo mandatory treatment in a specialized and protected center,” concluded Father Lombardi. “Therefore, we consider this case closed.”