The Assassination Attempt of Pope St John Paul II

On 13th May 1981, a man called Mehmet Ali Ağca attempted to assassinate Pope St John Paul II, shooting him as he travelled through the crowds of St Peter’s Square where 20,000 people had gathered to see the Pope. As he was rushed to hospital, he muttered the words “Mary! My mother!” over and over.

It was a truly significant date: on 13th May 1917, Our Lady began appearing to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. John Paul II then requested to see the Third Secret of Fatima and promptly consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Pope would later say that “it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death”. One of the bullets from the attempt was later placed in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Ağca himself was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, but at the request of the Pope, he was pardoned in June 2000. Pope John Paul also asked for prayers for  “my brother” Ağca, whom he had “sincerely forgiven”, and the two struck up a friendship.

The pictures below depict the incident.




Read more about Fatima and the visions of Our Lady to three shepherd children: Sts Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and Sr Lucia








This biography describes what made Karol Wojtyla into one of the longest serving and best loved Popes in history






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2 comments on “The Assassination Attempt of Pope St John Paul II

  1. I’m praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for his soul.

  2. I pray for Agca to know he is loved by Jesus. Jesus paid the price for his sins, and that is priceless. I think it’s important for Agca to realize that his sins are forgiveable by Jesus the true Messiah. (If he is repentant and trusts in Divine Mercy).

    2 Corinthians 2:5 – 7 says, “But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent — not to exaggerate it — to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.”

    I think it would help Agca if he had access to the beautiful image of Divine Mercy with the signature “Jesus, I trust in You”… in which the blood and water from the Cross is spiritually flowing from the heart of the healed Resurrected Eternal Christ, like an everlasting fountain of Mercy for sinners. “By means of this image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to it” (Diary of St. Faustina, 570). If Agca gazes at the image I think he could relate to this moment — as his sins (and everyone else’s sins) are what pierced the Sacred Heart of Jesus — and Agca can pray for the desire to let the forgiving water of baptism and the nourishing blood of the Eucharist spiritually seep into his troubled heart.

    John 19:34-37 New International Version (NIV)
    34…”one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

    I hope that those Christians who do have contact with Agca can take him under their wing with spiritual guidance to help him understand the meaning of Baptism and faith in Christ the Lord. I’d like to remind them of the Great Commission of Jesus:

    Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
    baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
    teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;
    and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
    Gospel of Matthew 28:19-20″

    Baptism is not just a reward for the righteous — Jesus came to call sinners. If Agca can hear the Good News taught fully and understandably and still wants to be baptized, I think he should be allowed to be baptized (if he hasn’t been baptized yet). The grace of Baptism is real — it would wash away all original and past sins, and he could start his life fresh from that point, if he sincerely wants to be a disciple of Christ. Like the good thief next to Jesus on the Cross — the innocent Savior is there to save him. What a miracle that would be! Even St. Paul the Apostle used to persecute the new Christians, but then the Lord called his heart and he became an apostle for Jesus crucified. Not for fame and money for himself — but for God’s greater glory. By following the Lord there is more treasure in Heaven than this world can offer.

    The line that struck me was when he mentioned: “I have read at least a thousand books, most of them scientific, during my time in prison.”

    I wish (and pray this wish will come true) that he will be supplied with many books of faith that could help to inform his conscience, faith and reason, and to decide if he wants to be baptized (if he hasn’t been yet).

    There are SO many great faith books out there, and there’s more being written all the time. Simple books, in-depth books, true stories of the saints, stories of converts, and more. Maybe Agca’s heart would grow in compassion and repentance by reading writings by St. Pope John Paul II, for example? To get to know the man who forgave him, the man who touched his heart. Then, most importantly, there is the Holy Bible — the Word of God.

    I wonder with Agca’s background in Islam — if their belief about the Bible being corrupted but the Koran being perfect is affecting his opinion of the Bible still… and the Muslim belief about how Jesus was a prophet but not the Son of God — and how Muhammad was convinced he was a prophet although at first (more rightly so) he thought his reception of “prophecy” was demonic. The true Holy Spirit of the Lord will lead one to confess that Christ is Lord, and to humble oneself “have mercy on me, a sinner.” I mean there’s religious freedom, but if Agca has ever/ still wants to be baptized, then there are important things to understand. Agca probably had a difficult childhood, and suffered many years in prison. But there is another kind of life — a life in Christ. If the people closest to Agca can share the true Gospel message with him, I think that would be good — Agca is entitled to the truth, and Jesus came to die for him too. Jesus loves him too. The truth sets people free. Jesus healed many people, and it was their faith that healed them. A great book I recommend is “Seeking Allah: Finding Jesus – a Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity” by Nabeel Qureshi. If Agca really wants to transition from being Muslim to being Christian, this could be an insightful guidebook.

    Also, I think maybe Our Lady of Fatima could be trying to reach out to Agca, ever since that fateful day. St. JP2 felt there was a significance, and maybe Our Lady is calling Agca to be her spiritual son, to get to know her son Jesus as friend, brother, Savior. ( There are many books about Fatima he could read if he were so inclined to understand the Fatima message and pray for peace and penance like Our Lady asked.

    I can’t tell from online articles what has become of Agca — whole gaps of time and details have been left out because it’s not public, but I’ll pray for him to find joy and peace in the Lord — just to hear the hope of his desire for conversion gave me hope for his soul. But he needs to be shepherded by wise church leaders who can discern how best to lead him in the Truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Even though many of us may never meet Agca or might not feel comfortable going to get a cup of coffee, the least we can do is pray for him. Remember his name in our prayers. The Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

    “Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.” (1st day of novena).

    “Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.” (4th day of novena).

    St. Pope John Paul 11 met him face to face to forgive him. And Jesus died to forgive him.
    “The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy” (Diary of St. Faustina, par. 723).

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