Two people found a way to get past security to attack luminaries in Italy this month. The first victim was Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi; the second, on Thursday, was Pope Benedict XVI.

On the surface, the attacks may not have much in common but the psychological troubles attributed to the perpetrators. But both are high-profile security lapses that resonate even in United States, thanks to the White House party crashers last month.

The attack on Mr. Berlusconi was brutal: a vicious slam to the face with a heavy statuette that fractured his nose, broke his teeth and sent him to the hospital. But the brief scrum set off by the Vatican assault and involving security officers left an aged cardinal with a broken femur.

The woman held in this week’s attack, whom the Vatican identified as 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo, did not not appear to be following the lead of 42-year-old Massimo Tartaglia, who apologized for striking Mr. Berlusconi on Dec. 13.

Instead, she appeared to be following in her own footsteps. On Friday, Vatican officials acknowledged she had tried the same thing at the same mass last year.

Her leap had been unsuccessful then, as my colleague Rachel Donadio writes from Rome. Italian newspapers quickly located 2008 video of Maiolo’s earlier attempt, where, in what looks to be the same hooded red jacket as she wore on Thursday, security got to her before she could make contact with the Pope. This time, her effort, also caught on video, was more successful.

Paura a San Pietro — Fear at St. Peter’s — was the umbrella headline Corriere Della Sera affixed to its rush of stories about the unsettling incident on an otherwise quiet Christmas Eve.

Soon, social networking located another link to the two Italian attacks. Corriere and La Repubblica report that a Facebook fan page has already been established for Ms. Maiolo. Fans of Mr. Tartaglia also set up a Facebook page for the Berlusconi attacker, now with more than 63,000 followers. By Friday afternoon, Ms. Maiolo had more than 300 fans.

Corriere ended up raising the possibility that thirst for fame (that White House crasher echo, again) could be as much an issue as psychological problems.

Ms. Donadio reports that the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said security measures would be reviewed, but that they had to be balanced against the pope’s pastoral role. “If the pope wants to be among people, it is impossible to have total security,” he said.

Papal security has, to put it mildly, been a historic concern. In 2007, a mentally unstable German manBBC report jumped a security barrier and grabbed the back of the pontiff’s open car in St Peter’s Square before security guards caught him.

The most serious recent breach occurred in 1981, when a gunman from Turkey, Mehmet Ali Agca, shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II who was riding in an open jeep in the Vatican piazza. He is to be released in January, after 28 years in prison

In Attacks in Italy, Who’s Inspiring Whom? - The Lede Blog -