Pope to publish his last testament

Jan. 24, 2005 at 8:35 AM
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ROME, Vatican City, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Pope John Paul II will publish what he calls his last testament in time for Easter in which he describes firsthand the 1981 attempt on his life.

The Times of London said the 84-year-old pontiff's 400-page "Memory and Identity" is bound to become an instant bestseller when it is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in March.

The personal account of how he almost lost his life to an assassin's bullet in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981, is in the epilogue. Mehmet Ali Agca shot the Pope while he circled St. Peter's. The pope required six hours of surgery, but survived, and said four days later: "Pray for the brother who shot me, whom I have sincerely forgiven."

The book is written in question-and-answer form and was described by the publisher as an "autobiographical, philosophical and historical reflection on the horrors of the 20th century and the pope's hopes for the new millennium."

The Vatican said royalties from the pope's books are used for charitable and humanitarian projects.

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