40 years after the attack: the zigzagging bullet that almost killed Pope John Paul II

40 years after the attack: the zigzagging bullet that almost killed Pope John Paul II

ROME – At 5:17 pm local time on May 13, 1981, John Paul II had just returned a little girl to her parents, after hugging and blessing her during the Wednesday hearing, when shots rang out from Bernini’s colonnade. and the pope fell wounded.

40 years have passed since the most dramatic event that has occurred in the Vatican and about which very little is still known.

There are numerous documentaries, books and testimonies that have reconstructed those dramatic moments, the investigations, the “miraculous” salvation of the pontiff and the pardon of the pope to the Turkish Alì Agca, supposedly militant terrorist of the extreme right group “Gray Wolves”, author of the two shots, but without a clear reason.

In the book published last March “Il papa doveva morire” (The Pope had to die) by the journalist Antonio Preziosi, little-known or even unpublished details appear related to that day in which the world stopped waiting to know the health of the potato that survived after almost six hours of operation.


Preziosi reveals that a few seconds after the attack, when John Paul II was wounded by two bullets, he whispered to his historic secretary and now cardinal, the Polish Stanislaw Dziwisz: “They did as in Bachelet”, recalling the murder of the vice president of the Superior Council of the Italian magistracy assassinated by the Red Brigades in 1980.

The author, who has collected numerous testimonies, recounts the incredible transfer by ambulance, without an escort, through the congested roads of Rome to the Gemelli polyclinic, which even made the wrong way and narrowly avoided an accident that would have further delayed arrival at the hospital.

The drops of blood were collected after the 1981 attack on the Supreme Pontiff in Vatican City.

At his entrance, the operating room for emergencies was closed, the key was not found, and it had to be beaten open.

The head of the Gemelli medical team, Francesco Crucitti, always confessed his amazement at the “strange trajectory” of one of the bullets that had traveled “zig zag” through the pontiff’s abdomen, leaving the pelvis, but without touching any important organ .

“The bullet entered the navel on the left side, pierced the colon and the small intestine in five places, but changed its trajectory in front of the central aorta. If it had touched it, the pope would have died instantly. Furthermore, the The bullet went through the spine, narrowly avoiding the main nerve centers. If they had damaged them, he would have been paralyzed, “Crucitti confirmed.

Look at the images of the traditional ceremony held in Vatican City.

Even on December 27, 1983, when John Paul II visited Agca in Rebibbia prison to publicly show his forgiveness, the Turk asked the Polish pope: “How did you do it? How did you manage to save yourself?”

The Polish pontiff was always convinced that he had been saved by a direct intervention of Our Lady of Fatima, whose apparition is celebrated on May 13 and that his salvation was the fulfillment of the Third Secret.

“One hand fired, another hand deflected the bullet,” said Wojtyla.

With a “Responsum ad dubium”, that is, an answer to a question, approved by Pope Francis, the former Holy Office answered negatively to the question that many priests were asking: does the Church have the power to impart the blessing to unions of people of the same sex ?.

Regarding the motives for the attack, Wojtyla never showed interest in knowing who it was who gave the order to commit the attack and defined it, talking with the illustrious Italian journalist Indro Montanelli, as “a mess” with all his reconstructions, admissions and denied.

The behavior of Ali Agca did not help the reconstruction of the attack, according to judge Ilario Martella who conducted the investigations, as he changed version 52 times.

Agca spent 19 years in jail in Italy before Italian President Carlo Azegli Ciampi pardoned him in June 2000, but he was turned over to Turkey where he had to deduct another sentence until his release in 2010.

This year’s futuristic manger at the Vatican, which includes figures resembling Darth Vader and an astronaut, draws criticism from visitors and social media. This year’s exhibition was held about 50 years ago by students and teachers in a historic Italian city famous for its ceramics. The manger depicted the American moon landings of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Different investigations pointed out that behind the attack was the military espionage service of the former Soviet Union (USSR) and the secret services of East Germany and Bulgaria, the so-called “Bulgarian track”, but Agca went so far as to assure that after his gesture there was Iran or the Vatican itself.

While Ali Agca was shooting the pope, there were two nuns at his side.

The first was Sister Letizia Giudici, who blocked the Turkish terrorist by handing him over to the police and saving him from lynching the crowd.

The other, according to several investigations, was the one who at the last moment lowered the terrorist’s hand and deflected the trajectory of the bullet, which from three meters away would have been fatal.

But this supposed second nun has never been found. Giudici explains in Preziosi’s book that it was not she who lowered her arm because she was convinced “that this man was taking photos.”

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.