JPII Would-Be Assassin Says He Converted to Catholicism

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

Writing from his prison cell in Turkey, Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, claims he renounced Islam and became a Catholic in 2007.

Agca’s letter was published by the Italian weekly Diva e people donna and said:  “I am looking for an Italian woman, who wants to correspond with me. Obviously (I hope) she is Catholic because from May 13, 2007, I decided to renounce the Muslim faith and becoming a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

“I have decided to return peacefully to the (St Peter’s) square and to testify to the world of my conversion to Catholicism,” he says in the letter written in Italian.

“Just for a day, I would wish to return to Rome to pray at the tomb of John Paul II to express my filial appreciation for his forgiveness,” he adds.

However, when questioned by AFP in Turkey, his former lawyer Mustafa Demirbag, said he was “very skeptical” about the conversion, given the steps required to receive baptism.

Ali Agca also claimed to have expressed his desire to visit St Peter’s Square to Pope Benedict XVI, without having received “no response to date”. He also claimed to have informed the Vatican of his conversion.

“For the Vatican, I may still be the man who tried to assassinate the Polish Pope, but now I have changed, I am a different man,” he says.

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