VATICAN

Pope Leads Traditional Midnight Mass

Pope Benedict XVI led the Vatican’s traditional Christmas Eve midnight mass at St. Peter’s Basilica Friday night. Thousands crowded into the church while many more braved a wet and mildly cold night to watch on giant video screens in St. Peter’s square. Security was tight as the pontiff addressed the more than one billion Catholics worldwide, urging all to remember the importance of Jesus’ birth; at last year’s ceremony, a mentally ill Swiss-born woman breached a barrier, lunching at the pope and knocking him down, leaving him unhurt but causing an elderly cardinal to break a leg. The midnight mass was actually held at 10 p.m. this year, as it was last year, in order to give Benedict two more hours of sleep before his Christmas day duties begin in the morning.