Pope Benedict XVI was assaulted on Christmas night as he made his way to say Midnight mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Ponitff was dragged to the floor after 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo vaulted over the railing, and despite being tackled by a security guard, brought the Pope down by tugging at his vestments.

Security whisked the Swiss-Italian woman away and the Pope, though a little shaken, was able to continue on and participate in the Midnight Mass.

Maiolo tried a similar stunt at last year’s Midnight Mass, but was intercepted by security before she got close to the Pope.

“She is known to the Vatican but she was never thought to have been of any serious danger to the Holy Father,” said Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi.

“As I have already said she was not armed and if anything the poor woman needs treatment which is what she is getting.”

Maiolo, who suffers from psychiatric problems, was taken away fro treatment at a clinic.