Benedict recalls miracle of JP2's assassination attempt survival

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the assassination attempt against John Paul II, Benedict XVI yesterday recalled the apparitions in Fatima and the miraculous saving of his predecessor by "the intervention of a maternal hand".

Catholic News Agency reports that the statue of Our Lady of Fatima on Saturday was welcomed in St Peter's Square by tens of thousands of believers, and a plaque was unveiled in the square on the exact spot where the attempt to take the life of the Polish Pope took place.

Benedict XVI said during the Sunday Angelus: "Servant of God, John Paul II, felt he had been miraculously saved from death by the intervention of 'a maternal hand', as he himself used to say. His entire pontificate was marked by what the Virgin pronounced at Fatima".

Benedict XVI recalled that the message the Virgin entrusted in Fatima, "was a strong call to prayer and conversion. It was a truly prophetic message considering that the 20th century was ravaged by unheard-of destruction caused by wars and totalitarian regimes, as well as long drawn out persecution against the Church".

Pope Benedict commented briefly on Sunday's Gospel: "In this Sunday of Easter, the liturgy offers us a reading of the Gospel of Saint John, in which Jesus, talking to his disciples during the Last Supper, is exhorting them to abide by Him as the branches to the vine."

"This is a parable that is truly significant, as it expresses with great relevancy how Christian life is a mystery of communion with Jesus," the Pope said.

"A certain way of remaining united in Christ is to have recourse to the intercession of Mary."

On 13 May 1981 John Paul II was shot and critically wounded by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca as the Pontiff entered St Peter's Square to address an audience.

Benedict XVI recalls miraculous saving of Pope John Paul II in assassination attempt (Catholic News Agency 12/5/06)

John Paul II: 25 years after assassination attempt (AsiaNews.it 13/5/06)
More than 400,000 visit Fatima on anniversary (USA Today/Associated Press 13/5/06)
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Pope: Immaculate Heart of Mary watches over journey of Church and mankind (AsiaNews.it 14/5/06)
Pope tells Quebec bishops to emphasize Sunday Mass, Communion (Catholic News Service 11/5/06)
Pope, in meeting with Venezuela's president, expresses concern (Catholic News Service 11/5/06)
Pope Benedict Raises Concerns in Meeting With Hugo Chavez (Associated Press/Fox News 11/5/06)
John L. Allen: The Heritage of John Paul II on marriage and the family (National Catholic Reporter 12/5/06)
Pope Exhorts Chávez to Respect Catholics' Rights (Zenit 11/5/06)
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An Artful Pope; Knights of Honor (Zenit 11/5/06)
Benedict XVI's Address to John Paul II Institute (Zenit 11/5/06)
Pope Highlights Sacramental Life (Zenit 12/5/06)

15 May 2006