Boy defies Vatican protocol to speak to Pope

A young boy broke with Vatican protocol at Pope Benedict XVI's general audience on Wednesday by personally introducing himself to the pontiff, an AFP photographer said.

The child -- who was around six years old and probably Brazilian, according to the photographer -- went up to the pope while Portuguese-speaking pilgrims were being introduced.

Around 3,000 faithful attended the audience, according to the Vatican.

Benedict smiled at the young boy, who was dressed in a yellow and black striped jumper, and spoke a few words before blessing him. The boy then returned to take his place in the audience to applause from the crowds.

The unusual interruption was permitted by Vatican guards after a discreet nod from the pope's secretary, Georg Ganswein.

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