Pope Benedict has met the woman who leapt over a crowd barrier and ran towards him, causing him to fall briefly, as he was processing into St Peter's Basilica to celebrate Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Cardinal Etchegaray suffered a broken hip as a result of a fall during the incident.
Holy See Press Office Director Fr Federico Lombardi SJ released the following declaration late this morning:
"At the conclusion of this morning's general audience, the Holy Father had a brief private meeting with Susanna Maiolo in a room adjoining the Paul VI Hall.
"Ms Maiolo told the Holy Father of her regret for the incident that happened at the beginning of the celebration of Midnight Mass last month. For his part, the Pope expressed his forgiveness, as well as his cordial concern and his best wishes for her health.
"Ms Maiolo was accompanied by two members of her family. As for the investigations launched by the magistrates of Vatican City State, they will follow their course to their conclusion".