(ANSA) – Rome, April 24 – Pope John Paul II is not a saint, because only God can be considered holy and attempts to “deify a human being” are sinful, Ali Agca, the man who tried to assassinate the pope in 1981, said Thursday in an interview with ANSA.
His comments come days before Sunday’s double canonization of Polish-born John Paul II, pontiff from 1978 until his death in 2005, and Italian John XXIII, who was pope from 1958 to 1963.
Agca, who was released from jail in 2010, said that he “definitely wanted to kill” John Paul II so it’s a “miracle” the pontiff survived the St. Peter’s Square attack, which shocked the world. “I have seen with indisputable evidence that on May 13, 1981, God performed a miracle in St. Peter’s Square,” said Agca, who has claimed at various times that his attempted murder of the pontiff was ordered by Ayatollah Rhollah Khomeini of Iran and the Soviet-era Bulgarian Secret Police.
The Turkish national added that he feels no remorse because his act was part of a “divine plan”. “There’s an immeasurable difference between a divine miracle such as my assassination attempt and a psychopathic, unjustifiable crime,” said Ali Agca. “I’m extremely happy to have been at the center of a divine plan that’s cost me 30 hellish years in solitary confinement”. After serving almost 20 years of a life sentence in prison in Italy, Agca was pardoned in 2000 and deported to Turkey.
Following the extradition, he was imprisoned for the 1979 murder of a left-wing journalist in Turkey and for two bank robberies.