John Paul II's assailant wants to be a priest

Mehmet Ali Ağca/Euro

The man who shot St John Paul II in 1981, Mehmet Alì Ağca, says he'll become a priest if Pope Francis welcomes him, Crux reports.

In an interview with Italian TV channel Canale 5, Ağca says he wants to travel with the Pope to Fatima in 2017 to pray with him to the Madonna.

Ağca, 58, served 19 years in an Italian prison for the shooting before he was pardoned in the jubilee year of 2000 at the Pontiff's request. He was deported to Turkey, where he spent an additional decade behind bars until 2010.

"Here in Turkey, I live as a pensioner wasting my time," Ağca said in the interview.

"That's why I want to make an appeal to Pope Francis: Welcome me in the Vatican, and I will become a priest," he said.

"After John Paul II visited me in prison, I thought about it, and I studied the Gospel at length," he said. "I know the sacred books better than many others. If the Pope welcomes me, I'll be a priest and I will celebrate Mass, if he wants me."

Ağca added that he would like to go to Fatima in Portugal in May 2017 for celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the famed Marian apparitions. Pope Francis is expected to be on hand.

"I'll pray there, maybe even together with the Pope, to the Madonna, my spiritual mother," he said.

The assassination attempt against St John Paul II took place on May 13, 1981, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, and reportedly Ağca became fascinated with the devotion and the revelations associated with Fatima.

A former member of the Turkish nationalist group the Grey Wolves, Ağca has given shifting accounts over the years of what impelled him to shoot the Pope - he's hinted at connections with the KGB, with Islamic radicalism, and various other shadowy forces.

FULL STORY

Would-be papal assassin says he wants to be a priest (Crux)

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32 Gün Mehmet Ali Ağca Gercek Kurtlar Vadisi (YouTube)

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