The late Pope John Paul II’s personal secretary, Archbishop Stansilaw Dziwisz of Krakow, said this week he accepts the decision by the Turkish courts to release from prison Ali Agca, the man who attempted to assassinate John Paul in 1981.
According to the Associated Press, a Turkish court has decided to grant conditional release to Agca on January 12. The would-be assassin was extradited to Turkey in 2000 after completing a 20-year prison sentence in Italy for firing upon the Pope in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.
Archbishop Dziwisz, who was the Pope’s personal secretary, caught John Paul II in his arms as he was struck down by Agca. The archbishop said through his spokesman, Father Robert Necek, “John Paul II forgave Ali Agca a long time ago. Now John Paul II prays for him in Heaven and I am praying for him too. The decision to free him lies with the judicial system in Ankara.”
Just as John Paul II, Father Necek continued, Archbishop Dziwisz also “has forgiven him from his heart.”
It is believed that Archbishop Dziwisz saved the Pope’s life by making the decision to take the Pontiff directly to the hospital rather than waiting for an ambulance to arrive. “His instantaneous decision was the correct one,” Father Necek stated.