30th anniversary of assassination attempt on Pope John Paul
CWN - May 13, 2011
Thirty years after the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul, “the time has come to attempt an historical assessment” of the event, according L’Osservatore Romano--“not only for its significance in the history of the 20th century, but especially its significance in the history of the Church and more generally in salvation history.”
“The unresolved mystery of who ordered the assassination attempt--the solution to which, as [Blessed John Paul] wrote in his testament, was before everyone’s eyes--and the evident intervention of a miraculous nature which caused the deflection of the shots fired by a very skilled killer just steps away from his target, and the subsequent saving of the Pope, have given this event a strong spiritual significance,” writes Lucetta Scaraffia. “A significance confirmed also by the coincidence of the date with the first apparition of the Virgin of Fatima, in 1917, whose message was dedicated to the 20th century and in particular to the rise of Communism.”
The Marian intervention could not but confirm a certainty for Christians: even if the forces of evil are powerful and dangerous, they will not prevail. This interpretation on the one hand attributed the negative forces in play to more than just a specific group and on the other hand, opened hearts to hope by lifting the assassination attempt from an apparent historical contingency and placing it in the history of salvation. In this way, the battle that the Pope was combating could become even more the battle of all Christians. And the call which he repeated more than once to be not afraid and to open the doors wide to Christ, thanks to his example, became something that all could follow, not just the most conscientious and courageous elite.
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