The attack took place at St Peter's Basilica in Vatican at the start of the traditional Christmas Mass. As the Pontiff was proceeding down the main aisle a young woman jumped over the barriers and plunged on him, shouting "I love you Benetto". The Pope was knocked down under the weight of the woman but managed to push her aside. He was heard saying "How many times I told you not to call me Benetto in public?"
The woman was in tears when she was arrested and dragged away from the scene. A police spokesman confirmed that the attack on the Pontiff was premeditated but not related to any terrorist group. The attacker was not named for security reasons and being referred to only as the red-woman after her red dress.
Vatican officials said that the red-woman was imagining having an affair with the Pope. She had made numerous applications to the Vatican last year claiming that Pope Benedict was an adulterer. One of the photos she had submitted to support her claim was showing the Pontiff relaxing by the fireside. There was no other person in the picture and the red-woman had explained this by saying "Look how clever he is. Even the picture of his adultery doesn't show the other woman. The man is ruthless."
Pope Benedict continued the mass even though he was highly shaken by the incident. He was heard asking one his aides to make sure that the red-woman is treated well at the police station. He said "God bless her, she keeps forgetting that she was the one at the fireside that night."