Breaking News 10:44pm UK, Thursday December 24, 2009 Woman Knocks Down Pope At Christmas Mass Alex Watts, Sky News Online A woman has been arrested after jumping over barriers and knocking down the Pope at Christmas Eve Mass. Pope Benedict XVI was attacked as he walked down the main aisle to begin service at St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Vatican spokesman Ciro Benedettini said the 82-year-old quickly got to his feet and was unhurt. Mr Benedettini said the woman appeared to be mentally unstable and was being questioned by Vatican police. He said she also knocked down Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was taken to hospital for a check-up. TV pictures showed Benedict's black-clad bodyguards rushing towards the scene, which happened off camera. The crowd applauded as the Pope stood up and resumed his walk to the Basilica's main altar to begin Mass. Benedict showed no discomfort as he read out his Christmas Eve homily - and made no reference to the assault. He spoke out against selfishness, which he said "makes us prisoners of our interests and our desires that stand against the truth and separate us from one another." The Mass began two hours early, instead of the traditional midnight hour, because of the Pope's age. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the change was planned "to make Christmas a little less tiring for the Pope, who has many engagements during this time". Last year, there was a similar security breach at the service. At the end of Mass, a woman jumped over barriers and got close to the Pope but was quickly stopped by security. Mr Benedettini said it was not immediately known if the same woman was behind this incident.