Events from HistoryMay

1981: Pope John Paul II is shot and critically wounded in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Ağca

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II, the leader of the Catholic Church, was shot and critically wounded in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The assassination attempt shocked the world and raised concerns about the safety of world leaders.

The attack took place as the Pope was making his way through the square, greeting and blessing the crowds of faithful followers who had gathered to see him. Suddenly, shots rang out, and the Pope was hit four times by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Ağca. Two bullets struck him in the abdomen, one in his left hand, and one in his right arm.

Immediately after the shooting, the Pope was rushed to Gemelli Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. His condition was critical, and for several days, he remained in a coma. However, against all odds, he eventually recovered and returned to the Vatican just two months later.

The assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II was not an isolated incident. In fact, Ağca was a member of the Grey Wolves, a far-right Turkish nationalist group with connections to the Turkish government. It is believed that Ağca carried out the attack on behalf of the Bulgarian secret service, which was allegedly seeking to eliminate the Pope because of his opposition to communism.

In the aftermath of the shooting, there was a widespread outpouring of support for the Pope, both within the Catholic Church and around the world. The Pope himself forgave Ağca and even visited him in prison to offer his forgiveness in person. Ağca was eventually released from prison in 2010, after serving nearly 30 years behind bars.

The shooting of Pope John Paul II had a profound impact on the world, raising concerns about the safety of world leaders and highlighting the ongoing threat of political violence. However, it also demonstrated the resilience of the human spirit and the power of forgiveness in the face of adversity.

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