Page 4, 23rd June 2000

23rd June 2000
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Page 4, 23rd June 2000 — Vatican consulted in private
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Vatican consulted in private

on Agca

release

From Bruce Johnston in Rome ITALY'S surprise pardon last week of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot the Pope in 1981, was made after the Vatican privately agreed to the move, according to sources in Rome.

Agca, who had already been pardoned twice by John Paul II, including once from his hospital bed after the attack, was extradited to his native Turkey, hours after Italy's President Carlo Ciampi pardoned him. He had spent 19 years in Italian prisons.

The former member of the Grey Wolves extremist terrorist group will now have to serve 10 years in Turkey for the murder there of a journalist. Agca, a right-wing extremist whom Italian investigators remain convinced was acting on orders of Bulgarian intelligence and the KGB, shocked the world by shooting the Pope twice at point blank range in a crowded St Peter's Square on May 13 1981.

He has claimed he acted alone, claiming that his was an act divinely inspired, only to later name his accomplices. Years ago in court, he also claimed that his attempt was connected to the Third Secret of Fatima. The attempt on the life of John Paid followed 64 years to the day after Our Lady of Fatima was said to have first appeared to three shepherd children.

Last month at a ceremony to beatify two of the three children, the Pope — who attributed his survival to Mary's intercession — revealed that part of the third secret of Fatima had predicted the 1981 attempt.

The Vatican is now to reveal the full text of the third secret 13 days after the pardon, on Monday June 26. The text will be presented "in its proper historical context" by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope's feast for the poor

POPE JOHN PAUL II invited some of Rome's most destitute residents to lunch at the Vatican to mark the "jubilee of the poor".

The pontiff hosted a fourcourse meal for 200 homeless men, women and children in the atrium of the Vatican's Paul VI audience hall.

He said: "Among the many events of the jubilee, this is certainly for me one of the most emotional and significant. I wanted to meet you, I wanted to share this meal with you to tell you that you are in the Pope's heart," Caritas Rome, the Catholic lay group Sant'Egidio and the Missionaries of Charity chose the participants from among the thousands of people who enter their soup kitchens and homeless shelters every day.

Call to love refugees

POPE JOHN Paul H made an appeal on behalf of refugees to countries throughout the world to adopt laws that will help those who are obliged to leave their homelands.

It came at the end of the general audience involving 30,000 pilgrims and involved a plea to the "spirit of the Jubilee".

The Pope said: "In the spirit of the recent Migrants Jubilee, I wish to thank all those who are committed to supporting millions of forced emigrants, refugees, and people requesting asylum."

He then addressed "the nations that still need to adopt appropriate laws to safeguard these persons," and made "an impassioned call in this Jubilee Year so that they will undertake these provisions solicitously".

One, Holy and Apostolic

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, The Church on her pilgrimage to full communion of life with God is "a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Saint Cyprian, De Dominica Oratione, 23).

"God called the Church into being in accordance with his plan or salvation for the human family and made her the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

"Despite the human frailties of her members, the Church is always one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

"As children of the Church we are called to deepen our understanding of these realities of faith and to live in accordance with them.

"We all share the task of working for an ever greater communion with God and union between all Christ's followers."




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