Practical Christianity: Pope John Paul’s example

In 1983, Pope John Paul II had a meeting with Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who had attempted to assassinate him. The incident occurred on May 13, 1981, when Agca fired four shots at the Pope in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Despite suffering critical injuries, Pope John Paul II recovered and showed forgiveness towards Agca. He asked people to pray for his brother and stated that he had genuinely forgiven Agca.


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The Pope visited Agca in his cell and engaged in a 21-minute conversation, beginning by asking if Agca spoke Italian, to which Agca nodded in affirmation. The content of their conversation remains undisclosed. Upon its conclusion, the Pope presented Agca with a small white box containing a silver and mother-of-pearl rosary.

In 2000, the Pope requested a pardon for Agca from President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, which was granted. Agca, while serving his prison sentence in 2007, converted to Christianity. In 2014, he visited Pope John Paul II’s tomb and left flowers as a gesture of respect.

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