13.05.

1981: Assassination Attempt on Pope St. John Paul II

1981: Assassination Attempt on Pope St. John Paul II
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ The Popemobile in which John Paul II was injured during the assassination attempt

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 13 May 1981
  • The Pope forgave his assassin and later visited him in prison. They established good relations and the assassin later wrote a letter to the Pope, wishing him recovery from his wounds. Pope St. John Paul II later met with the assassin’s mother and brother and even interceded with Italian President Ciampi for his release from prison.

On this day, at St. Peter’s Square in Rome, an assassination attempt on Pope St. John Paul II took place, precisely on the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, who back in 1917 allegedly foretold that “a bishop dressed in White” will be attacked. 

The pope was shot from the crowd by Mehmet Ali Ağca, of Turkish nationality, who was already wanted for the murder of a journalist in Turkey. He used a 9mm Browning Hi-Power pistol. He fired several shots, of which four hit the Pope.

One bullet perforated the Pope’s lower abdomen, and the others hit him in his left and right arm. Another two people from the audience were wounded.

The Pope lost nearly three-quarters of his blood and went into shock, but they were able to save him in a hospital where Dr. Francesco Crucitti performed a complex operation on him. The Pope presumed he will survive because he trusted the intervention of Our Lady of Fatima.

Mehmet Ali Ağca was imprisoned. The Pope visited him there, and forgave him. They established good relations and the assassin later wrote a letter to the Pope, wishing him recovery from his wounds.

Pope St. John Paul II later met with the assassin’s mother and brother and even interceded with Italian President Ciampi for his release from prison.

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