WASHINGTON — In the spring of 1981, President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II took bullets from would-be assassins, just six weeks apart.
Both men saw the criminal acts as evil forces.
“Reagan, in that first meeting in the Vatican, told Pope John Paul II, ‘Look how the evil forces were put in our way, look at what they tried to do.’ They saw this as an historical, spiritual battle against the forces of darkness as Reagan called it,” explained historian and author Paul Kengor.
But they were forces of darkness which could not destroy the good the two leaders were doing.
“They both said to one another, this Protestant President and obviously Catholic Pope, they said to one another they believe that God spared their lives, because they should have bled to death. They both should have died,” said Kengor.
Kengor says both Reagan and the Pontiff believed their lives were spared to take down atheistic Soviet communism.
Kengor’s book A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, also reveals the never before seen plan by the Soviet Union to assassinate Pope John Paul II.
“I learned that Bill Casey at the CIA led a truly super-secret investigation. It was led by two women,” Kengor explained.
“The institutional CIA could never imagine Moscow would ever shoot a Pope. But John Paul II, Bill Casey, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clark thought this was an evil empire. They thought these guys would shoot a Pope,” he continued.
In the end, Kengor says evidence showed a Soviet military intelligence unit carried out the attack in a plan approved by the infamous K.G.B.
The book also details how Reagan, despite his Protestant beliefs, became intensely interested in the secrets of Fatima, the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
“The first appearance of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1917. John Paul II was shot May 13, 1981. So he connected this to Our Lady of Fatima, whose warnings were about Bolshevik Russia, the crimes of communism,” said Kengor.
Kengor says he wonders if the two talked about Fatima during their first visit, but those transcripts are sealed until the year 2057.
“If I’m alive I’ll be 90,” Kengor commented.
“And you will be there when they open them up?” asked CBN News.
“I’ll be the first, I’ll be going in there with my cane, in the Vatican trying to read those documents,” replied Kengor with a laugh.