Pope thanks guards for keeping him, Vatican safe

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has thanked the Carabinieri police who maintain Vatican security for their “humble yet indispensable work.”

The pontiff met Thursday with the Carabinieri’s Vatican corps during its traditional annual audience, two weeks after a woman with psychiatric problems breached a security barrier in St. Peter’s Basilica and pulled the pope to the floor.

Benedict didn’t mention the Christmas Eve incident. But he referred to the Christmas holidays, saying they “allowed so many people to appreciate the humble yet indispensable work” that security guards perform in protecting Vatican visitors.

Benedict wasn’t hurt in the knockdown and his personal bodyguard — who stands closest to the pope — tackled the woman. She is undergoing treatment at a clinic outside Rome.