Friday, August 30, 2013

4. ST. PETER, THE APOSTLES & ST. PETER'S SUCCESSORS

Matthew 16:19
And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven

And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, 
it shall be bound also in heaven: 
and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, 
it shall be loosed also in heaven.
Saint Peter
Saint Peter, also known as Simon Peter, is featured prominently as an early Christian leader, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ according to the New Testament.

Born:      Bethsaida, Syria
Died:       67 AD, Rome, Italy
Spouse:  Febronia
Buried:   St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Parents: Jonah
Siblings:  Andrew the Apostle

After Christ's death and resurrection, strife between his followers and the Romans increases, and the disciples become targets for their faith. Peter realizes that he may have to follow in the footsteps of his Lord and Savior, even if they lead him to a death on the cross.

Peter was crucified on the Vatican Hill upside down because he declared himself unworthy to die in the same manner as the Lord.

The Apostles

The 12 apostles were the closest followers of Jesus. He handpicked them from His many disciples. While they often seem confused as to the teachings of Jesus throughout His ministry, after His death, resurrection, and ascension most of them (with the exception of Judas who did not live to see the resurrection) become the most dedicated men to any cause in history.

While the Bible does not tell us what happened to most of the apostles, historians of the first few centuries of Christianity give us some glimpses of how many of them ended up. While this is certainly not the word of God, the traditions surrounding their later life are interesting.

By giving their lives in devotion to a risen savior, the apostles are great examples for each of us.

Matthew 10:2-4
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Mark 3:16-19
And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

Luke 6:14-16
Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Acts 1:13
(Judas Iscariot is dead by this time, and is not named)
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

Now let’s look at what happened to each 
of them and how they died.

Judas Iscariot
Matthew 27:3-8 and Acts 1:18 tells us what became of Judas. He betrayed Jesus, and in his despair he committed suicide. There are those that pretend there is a contradiction in these verses. There is not. The two accounts supplement each other. Judas hanged himself, and sometime after his body was either cut down, or the rope or tree branch broke and his body fell to the ground and burst open.

James the Great
Acts 12:2 tells us of the end of James, so soon after Christianity had gotten started. He was the first martyr among the apostles. Herod Agrippa had him put to death by the sword. He saw that it pleased the Jews, so he decided to do the same to Peter, but Peter was saved by a miracle. James, Son of Zebedee was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded in Jerusalem . The Roman officer who guarded James watched, amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution where he witnessed the courage and un-recanting spirit of James he was convinced of Christ’s resurrection. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Andrew
Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.'
He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew’s, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60)”.

Bartholomew
There is a book entitled “The Martyrdom of Bartholomew,” in which this apostle’s tale is told. Again this is tradition and legend, but it is in keeping with what one would expect from an apostle of our Lord. “And when he had thus spoken, the king was informed that this god Baldad and all the other idols had fallen down, and were broken in pieces. Then the king rent the purple in which he was clothed, and ordered the holy apostle Bartholomew to be beaten with rods; and after having been thus scourged, to be beheaded.”

According to Eusebius, a Christian writer who lived during the 4th century AD, Bartholomew traveled to India to preach to the people there, leaving behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew: “Pantaenous is said to have gone among the Indians where a report is that he discovered there the Gospel according to St. Matthew among some who knew Christ; Bartholomew, one of the Apostles had preached to them and had left them the writings of St. Matthew in Hebrew letters.”

James the son of Alpheus
According to Foxs’ Book of Martyrs, was beaten, stoned and clubbed to death. In another account, in order to make James deny Christ’s resurrection, men positioned him at the top of the Temple for all to see and hear. The leader of the church in Jerusalem was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.
* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation

Peter
Made his way to Rome where history tells us that he was crucified upside down, feeling he was unworthy to die in the same way as Jesus. However, it is highly unlikely that such a request would be granted. Some hold that he was crucified on the same day that Paul was beheaded, during the reign of Nero.

Thomas
It seems that Thomas, having once doubted the risen Lord, was in the end no doubter at all. History tells us during his missionary trips in India he was stabbed with pine spears, then tortured with red hot plates on his body, and finally burned alive. He would not deny the risen Christ.

Philip
Philip evangelized in Phrygia, the present day eastern Turkey where hostile Jews had him tortured and then crucified upside down. Some sources have him being stoned

Matthew
The one-time tax collector suffered and died at the end of a halberd, having an axlike blade and a steel spike mounted on the end of a long shaft. His labors was in Parthia, and Ethiopia. He suffered martyrdom and slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, Ethiopia in A.D. 60.

Judas Thaddeus
According to historians, Judas Thaddeus was preaching the risen Christ to those in Mesopotamia in the midst of pagan priests. When he refused to deny his faith in Jesus, he was beaten to death with sticks.

John
John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
Matthias
Matthias was the apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, and worked in Ethiopia. Most traditions show him as being stoned there in Chochis. There are some who have him being executed in Jerusalem by stoning, and then beheaded.

Paul
Paul’s missionary trips are well documented. There is a tradition that has him being killed by beheading on the same day that the Apostle Peter was crucified. This seems highly unlikely. It seems likely that Paul was released from his captivity in Rome, but then arrested again and was executed sometime after writing 2 Timothy, by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in AD 67. Paul would not have been crucified since he was a Roman citizen. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire.

These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

Matthew 10:22 
Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the sake of the Faith. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be
saved”.


  • Many of Jesus disciples died cruel deaths for preaching the gospel.
  • They refuse to renounce their Lord Jesus, the Christ... That is the truth they are willing to die for.

List of all Catholic Popes from St. Peter to the Present Day

This list is compiled from articles in the Original Catholic Encyclopedia. It is not an article from the print version, but is provided here for the benefit of of Internet visitors. 
Order   
Name   
Years
Notes
1
Reigned 33-67
2
Reigned c.67-76
3
Reigned 76-88
aka Cletus
4
Reigned 88-97
5
Reigned c.98- c.106
Aristus in the Liberian Catalogue
6
Reigned c.106-115
7
Reigned 115-125
XYSTUS in the oldest documents
8
Reigned 125-136
9
Reigned c.136-140
10
Reigned c.140-c.154
11
Reigned c.157-168
12
Reigned c.166-c.174
13
Reigned c.175-189
14
Reigned 189-c.198
15
Reigned 198-217
16
Reigned 218-c.222
17
Reigned 222-230
18
Reigned 230-235
19
Reigned 235-236
aka Anteros
20
Reigned 236-250
21
Reigned 251-253
22
Reigned 253-254
23
Reigned 254-257
24
Reigned 257-258
XYSTUS in the oldest documents
25
Reigned 260-268
26
Reigned 269-274
27
Reigned 275-283
28
Reigned 283-296
29
Reigned 296-304
30
Reigned 308-309
31
Reigned 309 or 310
32
Reigned 311-314
33
Reigned 314-335
34
Reigned 336
aka Marcus
35
Reigned 337-352
36
Reigned 352-366
37
Reigned 366-383
38
Reigned 384-399
39
Reigned 399-401
40
Reigned 401-417
41
Reigned 417-418
42
Reigned 418-422
43
Reigned 422-432
44
Reigned 432-440
XYSTUS in the oldest documents
45
Reigned 440-461
46
Reigned 461-468
47
Reigned 468-483
48
Reigned 483-492
49
Reigned 492-496
50
Reigned 496-498
51
Reigned 498-514
52
Reigned 514-523
53
Reigned 523-c.526
54
Reigned 526-530
55
Reigned 530-532
56
Reigned 533-535
57
Reigned 535-536
58
Reigned 536-537
59
Reigned 537-555
60
Reigned 556-561
61
Reigned 561-574
62
Reigned 575-579
63
Reigned 579-590
64
Reigned 590-604
65
Reigned 604-606
66
Reigned 607
67
Reigned 608-615
68
Reigned 615-618
69
Reigned 619-625
70
Reigned 625-638
71
Reigned 640
72
Reigned 640-642
73
Reigned 642-649
74
Reigned 649-655
75
Reigned 655-657
76
Reigned 657-672
77
Reigned 672-676
78
Reigned 676-678
79
Reigned 678-681
80
Reigned 682-683
81
Reigned 684-685
82
Reigned 685-686
83
Reigned 686-687
84
Reigned 687-701
85
Reigned 701-705
86
Reigned 705-707
87
Reigned 708
88
Reigned 708-715
89
Reigned 715-731
90
Reigned 731-741
91
Reigned 741-752
92
Elected 752
died before his consecration; excluded from some lists
93
Reigned 752-757
94
Reigned 757-767
95
Reigned 768-772
96
Reigned 772-795
97
Reigned 795-816
98
Reigned 816-817
99
Reigned 817-824
100
Reigned 824-827
101
Reigned 827
102
Reigned 827-844
103
Reigned 844-847
104
Reigned 847-855
105
Reigned 855-858
106
Reigned 858-867
107
Reigned 867-872
108
Reigned 872-882
109
Reigned 882-884
110
Reigned 884-885
111
Reigned 885-891
112
Reigned 891-896
113
Reigned 896
114
Reigned 896-897
115
Reigned 897
116
Reigned 897
117
Reigned 898-900
118
Reigned 900-903
119
Reigned 903
120
Reigned 904-911
121
Reigned 911-913
122
Reigned 913-14
123
Reigned 914-928
124
Reigned 928
125
Reigned 929-931
126
Reigned 931-936
127
Reigned 936-939
128
Reigned 939-942
129
Reigned 942-946
130
Reigned 946-955
131
Reigned 955-964
132
Reigned 964-965
133
Reigned 964
134
Reigned 965-972
135
Reigned 973-974
136
Reigned 974-983
137
Reigned 983-984
138
Reigned 985-996
139
Reigned 996-999
140
Reigned 999-1003
141
Reigned 1003
142
Reigned 1003-1009
143
Reigned 1009-1012
144
Reigned 1012-1024
145
Reigned 1024-1032
146
Reigned 1032-1044
147
Sylvester III
Reigned 1045
148
Reigned 1045
149
Reigned 1045-1046
150
Reigned 1046-1047
151
Reigned 1047-1048
152
Reigned 1048
153
Reigned 1049-1054
154
Reigned 1055-1057
155
Reigned 1057-1058
156
Reigned 1058-1061
157
Reigned 1061-1073
158
Reigned 1073-1085
159
Reigned 1086-1087
160
Reigned 1088-1099
161
Reigned 1099-1118
162
Reigned 1118-1119
163
Reigned 1119-1124
164
Reigned 1124-1130
165
Reigned 1130-1143
166
Reigned 1143-1144
167
Reigned 1144-1145
168
Reigned 1145-1153
169
Reigned 1153-1154
170
Reigned 1154-1159
171
Reigned 1159-1181
172
Reigned 1181-1185
173
Reigned 1185-1187
174
Reigned 1187
175
Reigned 1187-1191
176
Reigned 1191-1198
177
Reigned 1198-1216
178
Reigned 1216-1227
179
Reigned 1227-1241
180
Reigned 1241
181
Reigned 1243-1254
182
Reigned 1254-1261
183
Reigned 1261-1264
184
Reigned 1265-1268
185
Reigned 1271-1276
186
Reigned 1276
187
Reigned July-August 1276
188
Reigned 1276-1277
189
Reigned 1277-1280
190
Reigned 1281-1285
191
Reigned 1285-1287
192
Reigned 1288-1292
193
Reigned 1294
194
Reigned 1294-1303
195
Reigned 1303-1304
196
Reigned 1305-1314
197
Reigned 1316-1334
198
Reigned 1334-1342
199
Reigned 1342-1352
200
Reigned 1352-1362
201
Reigned 1362-1370
202
Reigned 1370-1378
203
Reigned 1378-1389
204
Reigned 1389-1404
205
Reigned 1404-1406
206
Reigned 1406-1415
207
Reigned 1417-1431
208
Reigned 1431-1447
209
Reigned 1447-1455
210
Reigned 1455-1458
211
Reigned 1458-1464
212
Reigned 1464-1471
213
Reigned 1471-1484
214
Reigned 1484-1492
215
Reigned 1492-1503
216
Reigned 1503
217
Reigned 1503-1513
218
Reigned 1513-1521
219
Reigned 1522-1523
220
Reigned 1523-1534
221
Reigned 1534-1549
222
Reigned 1550-1555
223
Reigned 1555 (22 days)
224
Reigned 1555-1559
225
Reigned 1559-1565
226
Reigned 1566-1572
227
Reigned 1572-1585
228
Reigned 1585-1590
229
Reigned 1590
230
Reigned 1590-1591
231
Reigned 1591
232
Reigned 1592-1605
233
Reigned 1605
234
Reigned 1605-1621
235
Reigned 1621-1623
236
Reigned 1623-1644
237
Reigned 1644-1655
238
Reigned 1655-1667
239
Reigned 1667-1669
240
Reigned 1670-1676
241
Reigned 1676-1689
242
Reigned 1689-1691
243
Reigned 1691-1700
244
Reigned 1700-1721
245
Reigned 1721-1724
246
Reigned 1724-1730
247
Reigned 1730-1740
248
Reigned 1740-1758
249
Reigned 1758-1769
250
Reigned 1769-1774
251
Reigned 1775-1799
252
Reigned 1800-1823
253
Reigned 1823-1829
254
Reigned 1829-1830
255
Reigned 1831-1846
256
Reigned 1846-1878
257
Reigned 1878-1903
258
Reigned 1903-1914
259
Benedict XV
Reigned 1914-1922

260
Pius XI
Reigned 1922-1939

261
Pius XII
Reigned 1939-1958

262
John XXIII, Blessed
Reigned 1958-1963

263
Paul VI
Reigned 1963-1978

264
John Paul I
Reigned 1978 (33 days)

265
John Paul II
Reigned 1978-2005

266
Benedict XVI
Reigned 2005-2013

287
Francis
Reigning 2012-present


POPE JOHN PAUL II - 
TWO ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS


WHAT REALLY HAPPENED THE DAY POPE JOHN PAUL II WAS SHOT IN AN ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE HIM ON MAY 13, 1981?

We don't know why John Paul II wanted to hide this picture for years. The Vatican published this picture recently, for the first time. This picture was taken by one of his security guards just when the Pope was attacked and was falling down in his Pope mobile. You can see the pain in his face.

RIGHT AFTER POPE JOHN PAUL II WAS SHOT
Take a look at the above picture. You can see Mother Mary holding John Paul II in Her arms when he was shot in 1981. This happened on May 13, 1981. Pope John Paul II was shot as he arrived in St. Peter's Square to speak to the people who had gathered there. When he was shot, he was holding the rosary, which he always carried. When he fell to the ground, out of nowhere, a woman rushed to his side and embraced him. That picture is shown above. The picture is said to have been taken by one of the gathered people who was busy taking the Pope's pictures with his camera. The woman vanished as quickly as she appeared.

On May 13th 1981 (the feast of Fatima) the Pope was shot. In the hospital his nurse said that Our Lady of Fatima had saved his life. He did not know a lot about Fatima so in the hospital he read every book he could get. In 1981 the National conference of Catholic Bishops of the US sent a letter to the Holy Father requesting the Consecration. On May 13, 1982 he consecrated the world to Immaculate Heart of Mary. Lucia said it was not correctly done according to the wishes of the Holy Mother. So the Holy Father sent his Secretary of State (Angelo Sodano) to Fatima. Lucia and Meccias Coelho, the editor of "Mensagem de Fatima, sat with him for six hours explaining exactly how the consecration had to be done.





The first attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II took place on Wednesday, 13 May 1981, in St. Peter's Square at Vatican City. The Pope was shot and critically wounded by Mehmet Ali Ağca while he was entering the square. The Pope was struck four times, and suffered severe blood loss. Ağca was apprehended immediately, and later sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court. The Pope later forgave Ağca for the assassination attempt. He was pardoned by Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at the Pope's request and was deported to Turkey in June 2000.



When he recovered finally, the first thing the Pope asked for was his rosary. When he got it in his hands, he said that he felt Mother Mary directing the bullet's path through him. Surely, John Paul II was always in the habit of praying the rosary regularly. He had once said, "The best prayer I like is the Rosary".

Joaquin Navarro Valls, who is one spokesman from The Vatican, said that they made a lot of studies for years of this incredible picture and of course about the quality of the developing of the picture because when it was developed nobody could see very well because the image was not clear. Finally, and after so many controls and by looking and checking by all the experts in photography (around the world), they decided that there were no tricks in it and today they give us this beautiful gift from our Mother of God. You can see the Mother of God holding John Paul II in her arms. It is beautiful.
Pope John Paul II forgiving Agca in 1983
Following the shooting, Pope John Paul II asked people to "pray for my brother [Ağca] ... whom I have sincerely forgiven." In 1983, he and Ağca met and spoke privately at the prison where Ağca was being held. Ağca reportedly kissed the Pope's ring at the conclusion of their visit. The Pope was also in touch with Ağca's family over the years, meeting his mother in 1987 and his brother a decade later.

Although Ağca was quoted as saying that "to me [the Pope] was the incarnation of all that is capitalism", and attempting to murder him, Ağca developed a friendship with the pontiff. In early February 2005, during the Pope's illness, Ağca sent a letter to the Pope wishing him well.
Motivation for the assassination attempt
Several theories exist concerning Mehmet Ali Ağca's assassination attempt. One, strongly advocated since the early 1980s by Michael Ledeen among others, is that the assassination attempt had originated from Moscow and that the KGB had instructed the Bulgarian and East German secret services to carry out the mission. The Bulgarian Secret Service was allegedly instructed by the KGB to assassinate the Pope because of his support of Poland's Solidarity movement, seeing it as one of the most significant threats to Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe.

Ağca himself has given multiple conflicting statements on the assassination at different times. Attorney Antonio Marini stated: "Ağca has manipulated all of us, telling hundreds of lies, continually changing versions, forcing us to open tens of different investigations". Originally Ağca claimed to be a member of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), but they denied any ties to him.
Grey Wolves
Some people, notably Edward S. Herman, co-author with Frank Brodhead of The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection (1986), and Michael Parenti, felt Ağca's story was dubious, noting that Ağca made no claims of Bulgarian involvement until he had been isolated in solitary confinement and visited by Italian Military Intelligence (SISMI) agents. On 25 September 1991, former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman (now Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy) revealed that his colleagues, following hierarchical orders, had falsified their analysis in order to support the accusation. He declared to the US Senate intelligence committee that "the CIA hadn't any proof" concerning this alleged "Bulgarian connection". Neither the Severino Santiapichi court, nor the investigation by judge Franco Ionta, found evidence that that SISMI planted Ağca's story. A French lawyer, Christian Roulette, who authored books blaming Western intelligence agencies for the assassination attempt, testified in court that documentary evidence he referred to actually did not exist.

The Bulgarian secret services have always protested their alleged involvement and argued that Ağca's story was an anti-Communist plant placed by the Grey Wolves [The Idealist Youth commonly known as Grey Wolves, is a Turkish ultra-nationalist, neo-fascist youth organization. It is the "unofficial militant arm" of the Nationalist Movement Party. The Grey Wolves have been accused of terrorism.  According to Turkish authorities, the organization carried out 694 murders between 1974–1980], the Italian secret service, and the CIA – all three of whom had co-operated in NATO's secret Gladio network. Gladio was at the time involved in Italy's strategy of tension, also followed in Turkey by Counter-Guerrilla, the Turkish branch of Gladio. The Pope's assassination would hereafter have taken place in this frame. Edward Herman has argued that Michael Ledeen, who was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair and had alleged ties to the Italian masonic lodge also linked to Gladio, was employed by the CIA to propagate the Bulgarian theory. Indeed, Le Monde diplomatique alleged that Abdullah Çatlı, a leader of the Grey Wolves, had organized the assassination attempt "in exchange for the sum of 3 million German Marks" for the Grey Wolves. In Rome, Catli declared to the judge in 1985 "that he had been contacted by the BND, the German intelligence agency, which would have promised him a nice sum of money if he implicated the Russian and Bulgarian services in the assassination attempt against the Pope". According to colonel Alparslan Türkes, the founder of the Grey Wolves, "Catli has cooperated in the frame of a secret service working for the good of the state".
The "Bulgarian Connection"
Then KGB Director Yuri Andropov, was convinced that Pope John Paul II's election was the product of an Anglo-German conspiracy orchestrated by Zbigniew Brzezinski to undermine Soviet hegemony in largely Catholic Poland and ultimately to precipitate the collapse of the entire Soviet Union. The Pope's announcement of a pilgrimage to Warsaw fueled Andropov's apprehension, with Andropov issuing a secret memorandum to Soviet schoolteachers:

The Pope is our enemy. . . . Due to his uncommon skills and great sense of humor he is dangerous, because he charms everyone, especially journalists. Besides, he goes for cheap gestures in his relations with the crowd, for instance, [he] puts on a highlander's hat, shakes all hands, kisses children, etc. . . . It is modeled on American presidential campaigns. . . . Because of the activities of the Church in Poland our activities designed to atheize the youth not only cannot diminish but must intensely develop. . . . In this respect all means are allowed and we cannot afford sentiments.

Ali Ağca had made several trips to Sofia, Bulgaria. He also claimed to have had contacts with a Bulgarian agent in Rome whose cover was the Bulgarian national airline office. Soon after the shooting, Sergei Antonov, a Bulgarian working in Rome for Balkan Air, was arrested based on Ağca's testimony and accused of being the Bulgarian agent who masterminded the plot. In 1986, after a three-year trial, he was found not guilty. According to the CIA's chief of staff in Turkey, Paul Henze, Ağca later stated that in Sofia, Bulgaria he was once approached by the Bulgarian Secret Service and Turkish mafiosi, who offered him three million German marks to assassinate the Pope.

American journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave claimed that the Bulgarians chose Ağca to supply themselves with plausible deniability; choosing a member of the Grey Wolves that had allegedly been involved with the local KGB in drug smuggling routes through Bulgaria to Western Europe would distance themselves because of the implausibility of the link.
The Mitrokhin Commission's claims
Further information: Italian Mitrokhin Commission

According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, documents recovered from former East German intelligence services confirm the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II was ordered by the Soviet KGB and assigned to Bulgarian and East German agents with the Stasi to coordinate the operation and cover up the traces afterwards. However, Markus Wolf, former Stasi spy-master, has denied any links, and claimed the files had already been sent in 1995.

In March 2006, pending national elections, the controversial Mitrokhin Commission, set up by Silvio Berlusconi and headed by Forza Italia senator Paolo Guzzanti, supported once again the Bulgarian theory, which had been denounced by John Paul II during his travel to Bulgaria. Senator Guzzanti claimed that "leaders of the former Soviet Union were behind the assassination attempt", alleging that "the leadership of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate Pope John Paul" because of his support for Solidarity, relaying "this decision to the military secret services" (and not the KGB). The report's claims were based on recent computer analysis of photographs that purported to demonstrate Antonov's presence in St Peter's Square during the shooting and on information brought by the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, a controversial figure whose last feat was to indict Rwandese president Paul Kagame, claiming he had deliberately provoked the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against his own ethnic group in order to take power. According to Le Figaro, Bruguière, who is in close contacts as well with Moscow as with Washington, D.C., including intelligence agents, has been accused by many of his colleagues of "privileging the reason of state over law."

Both Russia and Bulgaria condemned the report. "For Bulgaria, this case closed with the court decision in Rome in March 1986", Foreign Ministry spokesman Dimitar Tsanchev said, while also recalling the Pope's comments during his May 2002 visit to Bulgaria. Senator Guzzanti said that the commission had decided to re-open the report's chapter on the assassination attempt in 2005, after the Pope wrote about it in his last book, Memory and Identity: Conversations Between Millenniums. The Pope wrote that he was convinced the shooting was not Ağca's initiative and that "someone else masterminded it and someone else commissioned it". The Mitrokhin Commission also claimed Romano Prodi, a former Prime Minister of Italy, was the "KGB's man in Italy". At the end of December 2006, Mario Scaramella, one of the main informer of senator Guzzanti, was arrested and charged, among other things, of defamation. Rome's prosecutor Pietro Salvitti, in charge of the investigations concerning Mario Scaramella, cited by La Repubblica, showed that Nicolò Pollari, head of SISMI, the Italian military intelligence agency and indicted in the Imam Rapito affair, as well as SISMI, Marco Mancini, arrested in July 2006 for the same reason, were some of the informers, alongside Mario Scaramella, of senator Paolo Guzzanti. Beside targeting Romano Prodi and his staff, this "network", according to Pietro Salvitti's words, also aimed at defaming General Giuseppe Cucchi (current director of the CESIS), Milan's judges Armando Spataro, in charge of the Imam Rapito case, and Guido Salvini, as well as La Repubblicareporters Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe D'Avanzo, who discovered the Yellowcake forgery affair. The investigation also showed a connection between Scaramella and the CIA, in particular through Filippo Marino, one of Scaramella's closest partners since the 1990s and co-founder of the ECPP, who lives today in the US. Marino has acknowledged in an interview an association with former and active CIA officers, including Robert Lady, former CIA station chief in Milan, indicted by prosecutor Armando Spataro for having coordinated the abduction of Abu Omar, the Imam Rapito affair.
Spies in the Vatican
In 2009, journalist and former army intelligence officer John Koehler published Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union's Cold War Against the Catholic Church. Mining mostly East German and Polish secret police archives, Koehler says the attempt was "KGB-backed" and gives details.

Possible Vatican connection
On 26 June 2000, Pope John Paul II released the "Third Secret of Fatima" in which he said that Ağca's assassination attempt was the fulfillment of this Secret. 13 May (the date of the assassination attempt) is the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin Mary to the three children of Fatima, something the Pope has always regarded as significant, attributing his survival on that day to her protection. Some doubt the Church's full disclosure of the contents of this Secret, believing that it actually predicted the Apocalypse. While in prison on remand, Ağca was widely reported to have developed an obsession with Fatima and during the trial claimed that he was the second coming of Jesus Christ and called on the Vatican to release the Third Secret.

On 31 March 2005, just two days prior to the Pope's death, Ağca gave an interview to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. He claimed to be working on a book about the assassination attempt. La Repubblica quoted Ağca claiming at length that he had accomplices in the Vatican who helped him with the assassination attempt, saying "the devil is inside Vatican's wall". He also said:"Many calculating politicians are worried about what revealing the complete truth would do. Some of them fear that the Vatican will have a spiritual collapse like the Berlin Wall. Let me ask, why don't the CIA, the Sismi, the Sisde and other intelligence agencies reveal the truth about the Orlandi case? Q: They say it's because there is still some uncertainty in the Emanuela Orlandi case.Ağca: In the 1980s, certain Vatican supporters believed that I was the new messiah and to free me they organized all the intrigue about Emanuela Orlandi and the other incidents they won't reveal."

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, disappeared at age 15 on 22 June 1983. Anonymous phone calls offered her release in exchange for the release of Ağca. Archbishop Paul Marcinkus was alleged to be part of the kidnapping, although no charges were ever laid.

A week after this interview, Associated Press reported Ağca denying having made such claims.

In November 2010, Ağca publicly asserted that Cardinal Agostino Casaroli had been the man behind the assassination attempt on John Paul II in 1981.


John Paul II was wounded 
in 2nd assassination attempt, 
his secretary reveals
Pope John Paul II was wounded when he was attacked by a fanatical priest during a visit to Fatima in 1982, his former secretary has revealed. One year after he was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca, the Pontiff was assailed by a bayonet-wielding Spanish cleric. Although the incident was widely reported at the time, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz has now disclosed that the Pontiff was bloodied in the attack; the Vatican had chosen not to disclose the wound at the time.
Cardinal Dziwisz made his revelation as the Vatican prepared for the first screening of a movie, Testimony, based on the Polish cardinal's book, My Friend Karol, about his 40 years as secretary to the late Pontiff. Pope Benedict XVI was scheduled to attend the premiere of the 90-minute film in the Vatican auditorium.
The Spanish cleric who stabbed Pope John Paul at Fatima, Juan Fernandez y Krohn served three years in a Portuguese prison after being convicted of the assault. He later left the priesthood and worked as a lawyer. He has been involved in several other criminal cases involving violent behavior at extremist political protests.
Who is Pope John Paul II?
Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus II), sometimes called Blessed John Paul or John Paul the Great, born Karol Józef Wojtyła (Polish: 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005), was the head of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 to his death in 2005. He was the second longest-serving pope in history and, as a Pole, the first non-Italian since Pope Adrian VI, who died in 1523.

John Paul II was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He is recognized as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Controversially, he upheld the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, he supported the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reform, and he held firm orthodox Catholic stances. He is known for his implementation of several papal documents pertaining to the role of the Church in the modern world.

He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. He named most of the present College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world's past and current bishops, and ordained many priests. A key goal of his papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was "to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great [religious] armada".  

On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to him, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson's disease. A second miracle, attributed to the late pope, was approved on 2 July 2013 and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later. John Paul II will be canonised on 27 April 2014.  Like John XXIII, his feast day is not celebrated on the date of his death as is usual, but on 22 October, the anniversary of his papal inauguration in 1978

POPE BENEDICT XVI RESIGNED

Pope Benedict XVI 

(2005- Feb 28, 2013)


Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI occurred on 28 February 2013 at 20:00 CET. The resignation was first announced on the morning of 11 February 2013 by the Vatican.

Why has Pope Benedict XVI resigned?




  • In his statement, Pope Benedict -- who turns 86 in April -- said he had come to the certainty "that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."

    But he stressed that the pope's decision was not because of any external pressure.

    Is the pope in poor health?
    Lombardi told reporters the pope was not unwell.

    "There isn't any disease specifically -- it's all to do with deterioration and weakness in his body, as the holy pontiff has said in his statement," he said.

    Lombardi said the battery in the pope's pacemaker -- which he has had since he was a cardinal -- had been replaced in the last few months, but he stressed that it was a routine procedure.

    Is it normal for popes to resign?
    It is the first time a pope has resigned in nearly 600 years.

    The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII in 1415. He stepped down to end the "Great Western Schism" -- during which there were rival claims to the papal throne.

    In 1294, Pope Celestine V resigned after only five months, preferring the simple life of a monk to the majesty of being pope.

    According to the National Catholic Weekly, modern popes have felt that resignation is unacceptable and could encourage factions within the church to pressure pontiffs to step down.

    Canon law states that a resignation must be made freely and properly manifested and that the pope resigning must be of sound mind.


    Read more: Who is Pope Benedict XVI?


    What will Pope Benedict do after his resignation?

    Lombardi said it was expected that Pope Benedict would devote his time to reflection and prayer.

    In his statement, Benedict said he wished "to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."
    Lombardi said he didn't expect the pope to be given any other duty, given his age, and he said Benedict would no longer be involved in decision making or administrative duties.
    Pope Benedict was "very discreet" and was "not someone who will interfere" or create issues in terms of his successor, he said.
    BY EDWARD PENTIN 08/21/2013 Comments

    – CNA/Stephen Driscoll
    VATICAN CITY — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has reportedly said that he retired from the papacy after a “mystical experience” and because “God told me to.”

    The news comes from an anonymous source who visited the former pope a week ago, according to the Zenit news agency.

    Asked why he resigned, the pope emeritus said, “God told me to,” but added that he had not received any kind of apparition or similar phenomenon. Rather, it was a “mystical experience” in which the Lord planted a seed of “absolute desire” in his heart “to remain alone with him, secluded in prayer.”

    According to the source, this mystical experience has lasted throughout these past months, increasing “more and more” his longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord. It has not been an “escape” from the world, he reportedly said, but a means of seeking “refuge in God and living in his love.”

    He also said that the more he sees of the “charisma” of his successor, Pope Francis, the more he realizes that his decision to resign the papacy was “the will of God.”

    Despite living a cloistered life in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens, Benedict XVI does occasionally receive visitors privately. A few weeks ago, a seminarian at the North American College was surprised to be invited to the pope emeritus’ quarters to have a private conversation.

    But during these meetings, Benedict XVI remains very prudent and typically discreet. He doesn’t reveal any secrets or say anything that may weigh on the new pontificate. He wishes to avoid declarations that could be thought of as “words said by the other pope,” Zenit reported.

    At most, he will express wonder at how the Holy Spirit is working through his successor or he will talk about how his decision to resign was the result of Divine inspiration.

    Although the source of last week’s meeting is anonymous, various Vatican officials have confirmed the veracity of his remarks. A senior Curial official also told the Register that he believes the source is "reliable" and that the account "completes" what Benedict XVI has said about his resignation on previous occasions.

    The news comes after Benedict XVI paid a three-hour visit to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo on Sunday. During his brief trip, he prayed the Rosary, took a stroll in the Vatican Gardens and attended a small, private piano recital held in his honor.

    Pope Francis, who has chosen to stay in the Vatican to work, invited his predecessor to stay at Castel Gandolfo in his stead. Benedict reportedly turned down his offer in order to keep a low profile and to avoid drawing attention to himself when transferring to the papal villas.

    Report: Benedict XVI Resigned After ‘Mystical Experience’ 

    The pope emeritus reportedly disclosed God has planted the ‘absolute desire’ in his heart ‘to remain alone with him, secluded in prayer.’

    Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent.
  • As Benedict XVI said on his way to Fatima in May, the Church “has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the need for justice.”

  • Forgiveness,” he said, “is not a substitute for justice.”


    Will there an assassination attempt in the life of Pope Benedict XVI anytime in the future? Have more insight in this next post #19. WARNING - THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA REQUESTED BY OUR LADY NEVER HAPPENED!


    PLEASE READ WITH FAITH
    This is an awesome prayer.

    Believe it and you shall be blessed.

    The problem with many of us is that we don't believe that God will open a window and pour out blessings that we won't have room to receive them. I dare anyone to try God. He is true to His word. God does not lie and His promises are sure.

    Three things will happen to you this week:
    (1) You will find favor with someone you don't expect;
    (2) You will be too relevant to be ignored;
    (3) You will encoun
    ter God and you will never remain the same again.


    My prayer for you today:
    The eyes beholding this message shall not behold evil, the hands that will send this message to others shall not labor in vain, the mouth saying Amen to this prayer shall laugh forever. Remain in God's love as you send this prayer to others on your list. Have a lovely journey of life! Trust in the Lord with all your heart and He will never fail you because ... He is AWESOME!

    If you truly need a blessing, continue with this:
    Heavenly Father, most Gracious and Loving God, I pray to you that you abundantly bless my family, friends and me. I know that you recognize, that a family is more than just a mother, father, sister, brother, husband and wife, but all who believe and trust in you.


    Father, I send up a prayer request for blessings for not only the person who sent this to me, but for me and all that I have forwarded this message to. And that the power of joined prayer by those who believe and trust in you is more powerful than anything. I thank you in advance for your blessings.


    Father God, deliver the person reading this right now from debt and debt's burdens. Release Your Godly wisdom that I may be a good steward over all that You have given me, Father, for I know how wonderful and mighty You are and how if we just obey You and walk In Your word and have the faith of a mustard seed that You will pour out blessings. I thank You now Lord for the recent blessings I have received and for the blessings yet to come because I know You are not done with me yet. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.