Pope John Paul II: Forgiveness and Compassion for Your Enemies

On May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca shot Pope John Paul II, as the pope rode in an open car across St. Peter’s Square.


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.”

Agca served nearly 20 years in Rebibbia, an Italian prison, for his crime. Pope John Paul II visited Agcain 1983 in Rebibbia Prison and forgave him.

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