Alex Constantine - October 17, 2008
" ... The Pope was wounded in the attack, which occurred one year after he nearly died in an earlier assassination attempt in May 1981. ... The news of the attack, which was kept secret by the Vatican, came as Poland marked the 30th-anniversary of Karol Wojtyla’s—as he was then—ascendancy to the Holy See in 1978. ... "
Related Story: Pope's Would-Be Assassin Applies for Polish Citizenship
The late Pope John Paul II was attacked by a crazed knife-wielding priest in a failed assassination attempt, according to revelations in a new documentary film about the late pontiff. The film, which is based on the testimony of the Cardinal of Krakow, Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was John Paul’s private secretary throughout his years as pontiff, reveals that the Pope was wounded in the attack, which occurred one year after he nearly died in an earlier assassination attempt in May 1981.
The news of the attack, which was kept secret by the Vatican, came as Poland marked the 30th-anniversary of Karol Wojtyla’s—as he was then—ascendancy to the Holy See in 1978.
The Pope was visiting the shrine of Fatima in Portugal in May 1982 to give thanks for surviving the attack by the Turk Mehmet Ali Agca in St. Peter’s Square when a Spanish priest, Juan Fernandez Krohn, described as ultra-conservative, tried to stab him. Police wrestled the attacker to the floor while John Paul was taken to another room suffering from a minor wound.
“I can now reveal that the Holy Father was wounded,” says Dziwisz in the film, which is called “Testimony” and narrated by the British actor Michael York. “When we got him back to the room there was blood,”
Neither the Pope nor the Vatican ever made any mention of the attack, although Krohn served a number of years in a Portuguese prison before authorities expelled him from the country.
“Testimony”, which mixes archive footage, interviews and re-enactments, should provide a wealth of information and insight into the life of John Paul II given that Cardinal Dziwisz was one of his closest aides for close to 40 years.
The film, which was premiered in the Vatican on October 16, also reveals that as he neared the end of his life John Paul could no longer pronounce certain words, adding that he told his aids that he thought he would die soon.
Apparently, the Pope after his last public appearance, during which he had great trouble speaking, turned to Dziwisz, and whispered, “If I can’t speak any more then it is time for me to go.” A few days later on April 2, 2005 John Paul II died aged 85.
According to Polskie Radio’s Thenews. pl, journalists and top Vaticanologists invited to a preview of the film were asked by its producers to keep the contents of the film secret until after the official release date this Thursday.
But one of the journalists leaked the shock revelations about the attempted assassination, to the annoyance of producers.