Patrick Novecosky: Pope John Paul II assassination attempt – the secrets behind shooting 40 anni fa

It was May 13, 1981. Cold War tensions were at their height.

The shooting was even more shocking because only six weeks earlier John Hinckley Jr. had tried to kill President Ronald Reagan, critically wounding the 40th president in Washington, D.C

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The attempt on the pope’s life came late on Wednesday afternoon, the usual time for the pope’s weekly general audience at the Vatican. John Paul, who was nearly 61 years old at the time, was in his open-air Fiat popemobile when Turkish hitman Mehmet Ali Ağca opened fire.

All four bullets hit John Paul. Two of them lodged in his lower intestine. Ağca, a professional assassin, was tackled and taken into custody. Nel frattempo, security forces rushed the pope to nearby Gemelli Hospital.

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Like Reagan, John Paul was seriously wounded.

After a five-and-half-hour emergency surgery, the Polish pontiff was on his way to recovery. But the injuries left lingering health issues that he carried until his death in 2005.

It’s fascinating to note that John Paul certainly knew that the Soviets were behind the attempt on his life.

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As a young priest in Poland, he had butted heads many times with communist officials. In the late 1950s, Polish Catholics erected a cross where they wanted to build a church in the Krakow suburb of Nowa Huta, which had been selected by the communists to be aworkers’ paradise.

The future pope celebrated Mass for them. The communists tore down the cross. He became a bishop, and they put up a new one. The communists tore it down. This kept up until 1977 when his efforts prevailed, and he consecrated the town’s first church.

John Paul II’s triumphant return to Poland in 1979 also enraged the Kremlin. Communist officials were furious when millions turned out to see the new pope. Poles hailed him as a conquering hero. The Soviet-backed Polish government failed to suppress the pope’s message of religious liberty.

Così, it was no surprise when the Italian government’s investigation found that Ağca, who had murdered a journalist three years earlier, was hired by the Bulgarian secret service, a puppet regime of the Soviet Union.

If John Paul knew Moscow was behind the attempt, why keep silent?

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