The Power of Forgiveness
As pictured here, John Paul II met with Ağca two years after the shooting to personally forgive him for the attempt on his life. In 2000, he was pardoned at John Paul II's insistence and has since been serving time in a Turkish prison for a previous murder of a Turkish journalist. On John Paul's April 2, 2005 death, Ağca's brother Adnan told a reporter that his brother Mehmet and his entire family were grieving as the Pope had been "a great friend" to them.
A Turkish ultra-nationlist at the time of the assasination attempt, Ağca remains a Muslim. In a statement published today Ağca said of Benedict XVI, “Eternal Thanks to the Vatican. I offer my deepest gratitude and respect to the pope for helping to secure my release...Their forgiveness and support should be taken as an opportunity for greater friendship and dialogue between religions.”
What will now become of Ağca's life remains an open question. He reported today for military service, though that may be differed. Some say his life is in danger. He has said he intends to complete a book detailing his side of the story. What is clear is that Ağca is free because the man he wanted dead forgave him and he seems to be truly grateful for that forgiveness.
Coincidentally, the issue of The Toilet Paper currently up at King of Peace is all about forgiveness. For those who don't know, The Toilet Paper is a newsletter posted in the bathroom stalls at King of Peace to provide reading material for those using the facilities. The current issue of The Toilet Paper is online here in Adobe .PDF format. We change The Toilet Paper every other week.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church