december memories / 26



26th December, 1983 : Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish “Grey Wolf”, fell on his knees in his prison cell before the Pope and kissed the hand of the man he had tried to assassinate. During their emotion-filled meeting he begged forgiveness for his crime; the Pope, who was making a Christmas visit to Rome’s Rebibbia Prison, willingly granted it. When he emerged from the cell, the visibly moved pontiff said: “I spoke with a brother of ours in whom I have total trust. What we have told each other is a secret between us.”

[“On 31 January 2013, Italian publishing house Chiarelettere released a new book which is expected to sell like hotcakes. The book in question is the new (and not the first) autobiography by Mehmet Ali Agca: “They Promised Me Paradise: My Life and The Truth on the Assassination of the Pope,” he tells the public, with the help of an anonymous ghost writer.The main revelation the book makes, 32 years after the incident, is that the assassination attempt on John Paul II was ordered by Grand Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran. Apparently Agca only told one person the real truth: John Paul II, during his famous discussion with Agca at Rome’s Rebibbia prison on 27 December 1983. Their meeting is, of course, one of the focal points of the book and the dialogue is described in a lively way, with a great attention to detail (pp.161-168). After discussing the third secret of Fatima, the Pope allegedly got straight to the point and in a very direct manner, asked him: “Who sent you to kill me?” adding: “I give you my word of honour that anything you say to me will remain a secret between us for ever .” The answer he apparently received is this: “It was Khomeyni and the Iranian government who ordered me to kill you.” After this, the Pope allegedly urged Agca to convert to Christianity.“Should we believe Agca this time? I don’t think so.” The Vatican Secretary of State Fr. Lombardi said he met with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz to discuss some concrete issues the book talks about. The main point of their conversation was the meeting between John Paul II and Agca at Rebibbia prison. Cardinal Dziwisz was present during that meeting and could hear the exchange that took place. The cardinal confirms that Wojtyla and Agca talked about the secret of Fatima and the inexplicability of the Pope’s survival but flatly denies that the two talked about who ordered the killing and about Ayatollah Khomeyni. He also denied the claim that the Pope had urged the killer to convert to Christianity and that John Paul II later sent a letter to Agca repeating his invitation to him to convert. ]

About Avadoro Worden

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