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German man jumps on papal jeep

VATICAN CITY (CNS): A 27-year-old German man was forced to undergo immediate psychiatric treatment on June 6 after he jumped over a barrier in St. Peter’s Square and reached the back of the open jeep in which Pope Benedict XVI was riding.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, refused to release the man’s name but said he was in a Rome psychiatric facility by 2:30pm, about four hours after being tackled to the ground by Vatican police.

The man was first taken to the Vatican police station and questioned by Gianluigi Marrone, a Vatican judge, Fr Lombardi said.

“The young man’s intention was not to make an attempt on the life of the Pope, but to carry out a demonstrative act to attract attention to himself,” Fr Lombardi said.

Because the young man was “showing clear signs of mental imbalance, psychiatric doctors from the Vatican health service were called, and they arranged hospitalisation for obligatory treatment in a protected, specialised health facility,” the spokesman said.

Pope Benedict was in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience.

The pope did not appear to know what had happened and continued with his planned audience talk, which focused on St Cyprian, a third-century bishop of Carthage in Africa, and especially on his teaching on prayer.

(Copyright Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.)

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