Today, we remember how Spanish ultratraditional priest, Fernández y Krohn assaulted Pope John Paul II with a bayonet. The Pope was in Fatima in Portugal, a year after he had been shot in St Peters Square. Why was he in Fatima on a thanksgiving pilgrimage? What did the priest want to kill the Pope?
Climbing out of the crowd in a cassock, he approached the pope from behind, and called out "Down with the Pope, down with the Second Vatican Council". He then stabbed John Paul II with the 16 in bayonet of a Mauser rifle. The Pope was wounded, but kept it a secret and appeared to bless the failed assassin. In a documentary that was filmed 25 years later Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, his private secretary said “When we got back to the room (in the Fatima sanctuary complex) there was blood,” The pope carried on with the trip and Krohn was arrested and served several years in a Portuguese prison before being expelled from the country. During his trial, he said that he was opposed to the reforms of Vatican II and that he believed the Pope had been in league with the Soviet Union and was a secret Communist agent trying to infiltrate the Vatican. His attempt against the pope was as a "sacrifice" for the salvation of the Church, and Spain. He said he was not crazy and did not regret his act, although he described himself as a sinner, but said he had not committed a crime.
After spending three years in a Lisbon prison, Fernández was released in 1985, and deported. After his expulsion from Portugal, he went to Belgium, where he abandoned the priesthood, married a Portuguese journalist, worked as a lawyer and became a blogger. A volatile character, his provocative behaviour continued in Belgium when he smacked a judge and handed out anti-semitic literature in the Brussels Palace of Justice". In 1996 he was convicted of arson in the Brussels branch of the separatist Basque party. To cap it off later he tried to assault King Albert II of Belgium, and was arrested again. After 2000, he has lived between Belgium and Spain, and is reported to be an expert in art and literature of the post-Spanish Civil War. As a young man he had trained for the priesthood with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X in a schismatic ultra-traditionalist seminary of Écône in Switzerland. The society had been founded in 1970, as a rejection of the Vatican II council, in order to adhere to the rites and disciplines of the Roman Catholic Church from before the Second Vatican Council ( for more about this see pod of Mar 7th ). He was ordained to the priesthood by the excommunicated archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. However, in 1979, Fernández was expelled for having shown "signs of mental instability" and criticizing Archbishop Lefebvre for allegedly being too weak in his opposition to the Pope.
The Pope had been in Portugal, making a thanksgiving pilgrimage for his life being spared one year earlier at St. Peter's Square in the attack by the assassin Mehmet Ali Ağca (see tomorrows pod). John Paul, known for his Marian Mysticism was convinced that Our Lady had intervened to alter the path of the bullet. Fatima had become an international pilgrimage because of the reported visions of a luminous lady to three children in fields there between May and October 1917. This lady, who they believed to be the Virgin Mary, had entrusted the children with three secrets. Two of the secrets were revealed in 1941 in a document written by Lúcia the oldest of the children, at the request of the Bishop of Leiria. They predicted the events which would lead to the Second World War and requesting Acts of Reparation including the First Saturday Devotions, along with the Consecration of Russia. The third secret was put in writing and sealed in an envelope not to be opened until 1960. The text of the third secret was officially released by Pope John Paul II in 2000.
This is what part of the secret said We saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'…he passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, When it was published in 2000, the Vatican described the secret as a vision of the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope in St Peters Square by a Turkish gunman.