Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to assassinate St. John Paul II in 1981 said that he wants to become a Catholic priest.
“Here in Turkey, I live as a pensioner wasting my time. That’s why I want to make an appeal to Pope Francis: Welcome me in the Vatican, and I will become a priest,” he said during a recent interview with the Italian television network Canale 5.
“After John Paul II visited me in prison, I thought about it, and I studied the Gospel at length. I know the sacred books better than many others. If the pope welcomes me, I’ll be a priest and I will celebrate Mass, if he wants me!” he added.
Ali Agca also expressed a desire to go to Fatima in Portugal in May, 2017, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions that occurred in 1917. “I’ll pray there, maybe even together with the pope, to the Madonna, my spiritual mother,” he said.
Ali Agca spent 19 years in an Italian prison for shooting the pope on May 13, 1981. He was pardoned in the jubilee year 2000 at John Paul’s request, and was deported to his native Turkey where he served an additional 10 years behind bars before being released in 2010.