Pope John Paul II shooter released from Turkish jail

By  John Thavis, Catholic News Service
  • January 21, 2010
{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The man who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981 was released Jan. 18 from a Turkish prison.

Mehmet Ali Agca, 52, was taken from prison to a military hospital to be assessed for compulsory military service, which is obligatory for all Turkish men. Agca fled the military draft in the 1970s.

In a statement released by his lawyer immediately after his release, Agca made the wild declaration for which he has become known, proclaiming himself  “the Christ eternal,” saying he intended to write the perfect Gospel and predicting the end of the world.

Agca, who had connections to a Turkish ultra-nationalist group, shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981. He was apprehended immediately, tried in an Italian court and sentenced to life in prison.

Agca first said he had acted alone. He later claimed the Soviet KGB and Bulgarian agents were involved, but his alleged accomplices were acquitted in 1986.

Pope John Paul publicly forgave Agca, and in 1983 visited him in a Rome prison. In 2000, with the Pope’s support, Italy pardoned Agca and returned him to Turkey to serve a sentence for the 1979 murder of a Turkish journalist.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible, which has become acutely important amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.