A Vatican magistrate has sentenced the unidentified man who forcibly entered Vatican City on Thursday night to mandatory psychiatric treatment, according to the Holy See press office.
The man was taken into Vatican custody on the night of May 18 after driving a car at high speed through a gate at the Vatican, bypassing the checkpoints of both the Swiss Guard and Gendarmes.
After being questioned in the presence of his lawyer on Friday afternoon, the man “was taken to the psychiatric ward of Santo Spirito in Sassia Hospital for mandatory medical treatment,” the Holy See press office said in a brief statement May 19.
The incident leading to the man’s arrest happened after 8 p.m. on May 18 at one of the main entrances to Vatican City by car.
The entrance at Sant’Anna Gate is located north of St. Peter’s Square and next to the Swiss Guard barracks. The press office said the man, estimated to be in his 40s, initially approached the gate in his vehicle and was turned away because he lacked the proper authorization to enter.
After leaving, he turned his car around and drove at high speed, forcing his way through the gates manned by the Swiss Guard and the Gendarmes, according to a statement issued Thursday night by the press office.
A gendarme stationed at the Sant’Anna entrance fired his weapon in the direction of the vehicle’s front tires, hitting the left front fender, the statement said, but the vehicle proceeded onto Vatican territory until the driver got out of his car at the San Damaso Courtyard, the central courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, where he was placed under arrest.
He was checked out by doctors from the Vatican’s health and hygiene office and found to be in “a serious state of psychophysical alteration,” the press office said.
The man was held overnight in a Vatican prison cell.
This article was originally published on Catholic News Agency.
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.