Most of us are familiar with the Soviet-backed attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter’s Square in May 1981. But another plot, this time by radical Islamists, was hatched to remove him from the world stage some 14 years later….and it almost succeeded.
It originated in the Philippines and was financed by Osama Bin Laden…a name few were familiar with at the time. The plan was to assassinate Pope John Paul II on his visit to the Philippines in February, 1995. The plan involved not only assassinating Pope John Paul II but also placing bombs on 11 aircraft bound for the U.S. Several bombs had been set off in the Philippines prior to this, as well as on a Philippines airliner in 1994, as part of a dry-run for the mission.
The undoing of the plot came about due to either Divine Intervention or good luck…..you can imagine which one we choose to believe.
A fire broke out in an apartment in Manila and once the fireman arrived and extinguished it, they found a bomb-making factory. Further search of the apartment turned up a crucifix, Bibles, and cassocks. It was clear that the terrorists were planning to disguise themselves as priests in order to get close enough to the Pope to assassinate him. The apartments were located not far from the Embassy of the Holy See and one window looked out upon the route that the Papal motorcade was to follow.
We have to wonder what the world would have been like had the fire not broken out and the plot un-covered. Would the attempt have succeeded? What would have happened to our world had Divine Mercy not intervened 19 years ago?
As we gather in Rome this weekend, let us remember that it was Pope John Paul II who canonized Blessed Faustina Kowalska and proclaimed the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.
You can read more about the “Bojinka Plot” in this Wikipedia article. It is also mentioned as part of several books regarding terrorism that you will find on Amazon.com such as the one below:
Before 9/11: A Biography of World Trade Center Mastermind Ramzi Yousef