- Jun 21, 2021
An elderly man stood alone in St. Peter’s Square May 13, using his wooden rosary beads to pray by a simple plaque marking the place where St. John Paul II was shot exactly 40 years earlier.
May 13, 1981 was a busy day – like any other – for St. John Paul II. The Institute for Marriage and Family has been established, and the pontiff had received French doctor and geneticist Jerome Lejeune.
When it comes to reform efforts of any sort, the Vatican doesn’t just face challenges in the here-and-now. It also faces a historical trust deficit, grounded in genuine episodes of cover-up and scandal which have been part of the Vatican’s history almost as much as Bernini’s colonnade and the Swiss Guard.
In the latest in a series of erratic and conflicting statements by the man who shot St. John Paul II in 1981, Mehmet Alì Ağca now says he’ll become a Catholic priest if Pope Francis welcomes him, and he wants to travel with the pope to Fatima in 2017 to pray with him to the Madonna.