Juan María Fernández y Krohn

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Juan María Fernández Krohn
Bornc. 1948
Known forattack on Pope John Paul II

Juan María Fernández Krohn (born c. 1948 in Madrid, Spain)[1] is a former Traditionalist Catholic priest, ex-scholar, and currently a journalist and Spanish lawyer who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1982.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Fernández y Krohn was born in 1948 in Madrid, the son of a middle-class Andalusian family with distant Norwegian ancestors. He successfully studied at the Escuelas Pías in Madrid's Argüelles district. At age 17, he began studying economics at the Complutense University of Madrid. At the beginning of his studies he joined the syndicalist and Falangist frat Frente de Estudiantes Sindicalistas (FES) and acted as an activist on the progressive wing of the group without becoming violent. He graduated with very good results. After turning away from his former political activities, he increasingly took on anti-communist and integralist positions and visited various places of marian apparitions.[5]

He was ordained a priest in the Society of Saint Pius X seminary in Écône, Switzerland, in 1978.[6] He was retroactively terminated from membership in the Society after his assassination attempt on the Pope and because he openly proclaimed that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's opposition to Modernism was too weak.[6][7]

Priestly activity[edit]

In 1975 Krohn came to Écône in the Swiss canton of Valais to contact with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X. In Argentina and later Brazil, he continued to connect to integralist communities. In 1978, Fernández y Krohn was ordained priest by the traditionalist archbishop and founder of the FSSPX Marcel Lefebvre. As a pastor Fernández y Krohn looked after two congregations of the FSSPX near Paris and in Rouen. The FSSPX was founded in 1970 to adhere to the rites and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). In 1979, the Fernández y Krohn was expelled for having shown "signs of mental instability" and criticizing Archbishop Lefebvre for allegedly too weak opposition to the pope. According to the Brotherhood Fernández y Krohn in 1980 contentwise separated from Lefebvre and joined a Sedevacantist group.[3][8]

In July 1981, he traveled to Poland, trying unsuccessfully to conduct an interview with Lech Wałęsa, the founder of the anti-Communist Solidarity trade union.[5]

Assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II[edit]

On 12 May 1982, he assaulted Pope John Paul II with a bayonet in Fátima, Portugal on the occasion of his pilgrimage to thank for his life being spared one year earlier at St. Peter's Square in the attack by the assassin Mehmet Ali Agca.[9]. Fernández y Krohn arose from the crowd in a cassock, 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 40 cm long bayonet of a Mauser rifle. It is unclear whether he managed to wound the Pope or not.[10][11][12] John Paul II survived the attack seemingly unharmed and blessed the failed assassin. Fernández y Krohn was arrested by security without resistance.[13]

Reprocessing of the assassination[edit]

Juan María Fernández y Krohn had to answer for the murder attempt both under church law and under Portuguese criminal law.

Canon Law[edit]

As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, the perpetrator, according to Canons 1331 and 1370 § 1 of the church code, obtained the church penalty of excommunication. In the case of the use of force against the pope, the church penalty comes into effect directly. Due to the excommunication, Fernández y Krohn lost the right to receive or donate the sacraments, but remained a church member.[14]

Criminal Law[edit]

Fernández y Krohn was charged with attempted murder, and a prison sentence condemned him to six and a half years. In addition, he received another seven months in prison for disrespecting the court. During his trial, he said that he was opposed to the reforms of Vatican II and that he believed Pope John Paul II had been in league with the Soviet Union and even was a secret Communist agent trying to corrupt the Vatican. He denied hurting the pope. After being in a prison in Lisbon, in which he served three years of punishment, in 1985 Krohn was released from prison and was deported from Portugal, after which he moved to Belgium.[15]

Other criminal activities[edit]

In 1996, Fernández y Krohn was charged with arson in the Brussels branch of the separatist Basque party Herri Batasuna and was convicted.

In 2000, he tried to assault King Albert II of Belgium, being arrested again. In July 2000, Juan Carlos I of Spain was the target of Krohn, an enraged protester, who breached security and attempted to approach the king.[16] Krohn suffered a new criminal charge and was sentenced to five years imprisonment.[8] The subsequent psychiatric study determined that there was no danger and Krohn was released. In his personal blog, he describes Pope Francis as a "prophet of calamities, sworn enemy of Europe, renegade from his roots, debtor and slanderer of the Spanish past in America."[17]

Personal life[edit]

After his expulsion from Portugal Fernández y Krohn went to Belgium, where he abandoned priesthood, married a Portuguese journalist, worked as a lawyer and became a blogger. There he came to additional notoriety because he slapped a judge.

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 period from 1939–1990.[18] He has a son from a relationship with a Flemish Belgian.[19]

His assassination attempt against the pope was described by him as a "sacrifice" for the salvation of the Church, Spain and his conviction as a "national Catholic". He said he was not crazy and did not regret his act, even if he did not repeat it, because he had evolved. He described himself as a sinner, but denied having committed a crime. He accused the assassin Mehmet Ali Agca of being anti-Christian and anti-Western and of holding the pope as the leader of the crusades. Fernández y Krohn further claimed that John Paul II never forgave him, unlike Ağca. Krohn had a direct intention to kill that was committed and planned for six months.


  1. ^ Donnelley, Paul. "Assassination!". Lulu.com – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Pope John Paul "wounded" in 1982, BBC News
  3. ^ a b "VATIKAN: Großer Appetit". 17 May 1982 – via Spiegel Online.
  4. ^ "Der Papst war Ziel von Anschlägen: Attentate: Johannes Paul II. entging Tod mehrfach". app.handelsblatt.com.
  5. ^ a b País, Ediciones El (14 May 1982). "El frustrado agresor del Papa, en Fátima, un hombre brillante y vehemente" – via elpais.com.
  6. ^ a b Cekada, Anthony (19 October 2008). "Juan Fernandez Krohn, "Papal Assassin" and SSPX". Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  7. ^ Hebblethwaite, Peter (21 May 1978). "Pope John Paul II and the Church". Rowman & Littlefield – via Google Books.
  8. ^ a b País, Ediciones El (16 October 2008). "Reportaje - El último misterio de Fátima" – via elpais.com.
  9. ^ "Bilder aus Fatima - Das Fatima-Weltapostolat U.L.F. in Deutschland e.V." www.fatima-weltapostolat.de.
  10. ^ Juan María Fernández y Krohn denies accusations, El Mundo (in Spanish)
  11. ^ CBC report on Fernández y Krohn
  12. ^ John Paul "wounded" in 1982, Reuters news release
  13. ^ Reisswitz, Crista Kramer von (7 April 2005). ": Sombrero für den eiligen Vater" – via Spiegel Online.
  14. ^ "CIC - Buch 6". www.codex-iuris-canonici.de.
  15. ^ "Telegraph". The Telegraph.
  16. ^ Cardyn, Hans. "'Belager' koning Albert komt er goedkoop vanaf" (in Dutch). Gazet Van Antwerpen. Archived from the original on 17 March 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2007.
  17. ^ Barrio, Javier Martín del (12 May 2017). "El español que intentó matar al papa 'comunista'" – via elpais.com.
  18. ^ "Fernández y Krohn recent activities" (in French). Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2009.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "- EL MUNDO - Suplemento cronica 679 - «No llegué a herir al Papa»". www.elmundo.es.

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