tAn extra two yards of space has been added to the central corridor in St. Peter’s Basilica when the pope processes down the aisle during major liturgical celebrations, in order to give security personnel more room to maneuever should someone breach the barriers as happened Christmas Eve.
tMeanwhile, rumors are swirling in Rome that the woman who lunged for the pope on Christmas eve, Susanna Maiolo, a 25-year-old Swiss-Italian national, may soon get a tête-à-tête with the pontiff, perhaps at the end of a Wednesday General Audience. On Dec. 31, Maiolo was visited by Monsignor Georg Gänswein, the pope’s private secretary, and the head of Vatican security in the psychiatric hospital where she was admitted after the Christmas Eve incident.
tItalian news reports said that Gänswein relayed the pope’s forgiveness, and Vatican spokespersons said that Maiolo’s eventual release is probable.
In past incidents when people have breached papal security without malicious intent, they've often later been granted a few moments with the pope. While that's usually seen as a laudable humanitarian gesture, critics have argued that it may actually encourage such incidents.