In 1981, Pope John Paul 2 was shot by a Turkish man named Mehmet Ali Ağca, who was later arrested and jailed.
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.
Despite severe blood loss, the pontiff survived, and asked for all Catholics to pray for Ağca, whom he had “sincerely forgiven.”
An Italian court sentenced Ağca to life in prison. The motive for the assassination attempt and its planners remains mysterious — theories and allegations have accused the CIA, the KGB, the Bulgarian government, the Turkish mafia and more.
In 1983, John Paul II visited his would-be assassin. They had a private conversation, and emerged as friends. The pope stayed in touch with Ağca’s family during the latter’s incarceration, and in 2000 requested that he be pardoned.
The request was granted. Ağca was released and deported to Turkey, where he was imprisoned for the life sentence he had fled decades prior.
He converted to Christianity while incarcerated, and was finally released in 2010.
In December 2014, he returned to Rome and laid two dozen white roses at the pope’s tomb.
The Bible never said we should pay an eye for an eye.
By Efosa Jabez Imasuen