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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words: Talking with your murderer

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A picture is worth a thousand words: Talking with your murderer

Did you know about the mysterious conversation between John Paul II and the Turkish Ali Ağca who wanted to murder him?

Pope John Paul II, often described as a true believer of forgiveness and compassion, did not only preach about forgiveness, but he lived a life of forgiveness until his death. The following story proves his pure feelings.

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was crossing St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City when an attempt was made on his life.
Mehmet Ali Ağca, who had escaped from a Turkish prison after receiving a life sentence for murdering a journalist, fired four shots with a 9-millimeter pistol. Two struck the pope in his lower intestine, one in his right arm and one in his left index finger. Two bystanders were also wounded.

The threat to Pope John Paul II's life did not change his belief in forgiveness; these was his motivation to meet with his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca in Christmas period of December 27, 1983, two years after his assassination attempt.

A picture is worth a thousand words: Talking with your murderer

It was the afternoon on May 13th in 1981 when John Paul II was heading to the cathedral; before he reached his destination he was shot twice by Ali Ağca. John Paul II was wounded as well as two American tourists who were also shot by the Turkish. The 23-year-old Ali Ağca managed to hide. Despite severe blood loss, the pontiff survived, and asked for all Catholics to pray for Ağca, whom he had “sincerely forgiven.”

A picture is worth a thousand words: Talking with your murderer

Ağca was sentenced, in July 1981, to life imprisonment in Italy for the assassination attempt, but was pardoned by president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in June 2000 at the Pope's request. He was then extradited to Turkey, where he was imprisoned for the 1979 murder of left-wing journalist Abdi İpekçi and two bank raids carried out in the 1970s. Despite a plea for early release in November 2004, a Turkish court announced that he would not be eligible for release until 2010. Nonetheless he was released on parole on 12 January 2006. However, on 20 January 2006, the Turkish Supreme Court ruled that his time served in Italy could not be deducted from his Turkish sentence and he was returned to jail. Ağca was released from prison on 18 January 2010, after almost 29 years behind bars.

A picture is worth a thousand words: Talking with your murderer

In 1983, the pontiff and Ağca met and spoke privately at the prison where Ağca was being held. Ağca reportedly kissed the Pope's ring at the conclusion of their visit. The Pope was also in touch with Ağca's family over the years, meeting his mother in 1987 and his brother a decade later.

Although Ağca was quoted as saying that "to me the Pope was the incarnation of all that is capitalism", and attempted to murder him, Ağca developed a friendship with the pontiff. In early February 2005, during the Pope's illness, Ağca sent a letter to the Pope wishing him well. (source)

A picture is worth a thousand words: Talking with your murderer

In 2005, before Pope's death, Ağca sent him a letter to wish him a fast recovery. On December 27th of 2014 Ağca was arrested in Rome, because it was prohibited for him to enter Italy until 2016. His purpose was to visit the place where he attacked John Paul II as well as the Pope's grave, to leave a white rose there...

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