The Failed Assassination Attempt on Pope John Paul II

John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square in Rome on May 13, 1981.
Photo: catholicherald

On 13th May 1981, an assassination attempt was made on Pope John Paul II in St Peters Square. This act of violence directed against a man of peace has stunned the world. Fifteen thousand people had gathered for the Pope’s weekly audience with the general public. It was just 5 o clock in Italy, Pope was riding through the Peter’s Square in Vatican City reaching out to touch the children for his blessing and suddenly shots from the crowd were fired. According to the eyewitnesses, the Pope froze in shock for a second and then slumped to the seat of his jeep. The assassin was quickly taken into custody, but could not be stopped from shooting the pope 4 times. He was Mehmet Ali, a Turkish who escaped from the prison of his own country.

The pope was seriously injured in the left and right arm and lower part of the abdomen and right hand. John Paul took the name of his mother Mary as he collapsed. Surprisingly, he quickly made a full recovery apart from the long 41 hour operation resulted in the removal of most of the intestine part and most of his blood was replaced with transfusions. Surely it was gods divine powers and people’s blessings that helped him during this time.

The real reason behind the assassination attempt was never clearly explained. Mehmet Ali, a Muslim who had his links to Turkish ultranationalist group, called the Gray Wolves, has never explained their motives. He informed that the Bulgarian intelligence and KGB were involved in this act, but later he denied of those claims. The investigators founded some minor details that could support a few of his allegations, but no concrete evidence was found, and the 3 Bulgarians and 3 Turks arrested for the involvement in the assassination were later released.

However, Ali Agca received a punishment of life imprisonment. He remained in prison till June 2000 and later he was officially pardoned. However, the pope had forgiven Ali long back, both publicly when he was getting treated in hospital and privately when he went on to visit Ali in the prison where he was captured. On that occasion, Ali went downk and kissed the Fishermans ring as a symbol of respect but he never asked for forgiveness. But instead, he said, I knew I aimed right, so why aren’t you dead?

Pope John Paul II meeting his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in a Rome prison Dec. 27, 1983. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

For many years, John, who was mystical pope, had always questioned himself the same exact question and the fact that bullets missing the vital organs by some few millimeters confirmed his near messianic of his special purpose on earth. John always believed that his survival was a miracle of god and some divine powers.

The assassination was attempted on the anniversary of the day of 1917 when 3 shepherd children’s first saw apparition of Virgin Mary in John Paul II, Portugal and Fatima. The John Paul II was awarded with the Madonna of Fatima. The bullet was fitted into the jeweled crown. In 2000, Vatican revealed the fact that 3rd part of the vision had been an attempt of assassination on the pope.