Pope Tackled on

Last Second Hail Mary

12/25/2009 11:38 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Pope Benedict XVI took a lickin' and kept on tickin' -- after a woman jumped a barrier and rushed the pontiff at the beginning of Christmas Mass.


After he was knocked to the ground, the Pope got up and kept walking -- and still delivered his annual Christmas Day blessing.

But not everyone walked away unscathed -- an 87-year-old French Cardinal who happened to be standing just a few feet from the incident fell and broke his hip amongst the chaos.

Vatican officials claim the overzealous woman appeared, "mentally unstable."