Juan María Fernández y Krohn

Juan María Fernández y Krohn (born c. 1948) is a Spanish Traditionalist Catholic priest, journalist, and lawyer, who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1982.[1][2][3]

Juan María Fernández y Krohn
Bornc. 1948 (age 71–72)
Known forAttack on Pope John Paul II

Early lifeEdit

Fernández y Krohn was born c. 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 fraternity Frente de Estudiantes Sindicalistas (FES) and acted as an activist on the progressive wing of the group. 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.[4]

Priestly activityEdit

In 1975 Krohn came to Écône in the Swiss canton of Valais to contact the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X. In Argentina and later Brazil, he continued to come in contact with integralist communities. In 1978, Fernández y Krohn was ordained to the priesthood 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 disciplines of the Roman Catholic Church from before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).[2][5]

In 1979, 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 separated from Lefebvre in 1980 and joined a Sedevacantist group.[2][5]

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.[4]

Assassination attempt on Pope John Paul IIEdit

On 12 May 1982, Fernández y Krohn assaulted Pope John Paul II with a bayonet in Fátima, Portugal, on the occasion of the Pope's 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.[6]

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 (16 in) bayonet of a Mauser rifle. It is unclear if he managed to wound the Pope.[7]

John Paul II survived the attack, and blessed the failed assassin. Fernández y Krohn was arrested by security without resistance.[8]


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

Fernández y Krohn was convicted of attempted murder, and sentenced to six and a half years imprisonment. He received a further seven months in prison for contempt of 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 said he had not hurt the pope. After spending three years in a Lisbon prison, Fernández y Krohn was released in 1985, and deported.[9]

As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, the perpetrator, according to Canons 1331 and 1370 § 1 of the church code, incurred the church penalty of excommunication. In the case of the use of force against the pope, the penalty comes into effect directly, without trial. Due to the excommunication, Fernández y Krohn lost the right to receive or confect the sacraments until he could be reconciled in confession.[10][original research?]

Other criminal activitiesEdit

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, Fernández y Krohn targeted Juan Carlos I of Spain, as an enraged protester, who breached security and attempted to approach the king.[11] Krohn suffered a new criminal charge and was sentenced to five years imprisonment.[5] The subsequent psychiatric study determined that there was no danger and Krohn was released.[12]

Personal lifeEdit

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

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.[13] He has a son from a relationship with a Flemish Belgian.[14]

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 said he had not 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 said that John Paul II never forgave him, unlike Ağca. Krohn had a direct intention to kill that was committed and planned for six months.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Pope John Paul "wounded" in 1982, BBC News
  2. ^ a b c "VATIKAN: Großer Appetit". 17 May 1982 – via Spiegel Online.
  3. ^ "Der Papst war Ziel von Anschlägen: Attentate: Johannes Paul II. entging Tod mehrfach". app.handelsblatt.com.
  4. ^ a b País, Ediciones El (14 May 1982). "El frustrado agresor del Papa, en Fátima, un hombre brillante y vehemente" – via elpais.com.
  5. ^ a b c País, Ediciones El (16 October 2008). "Reportaje - El último misterio de Fátima" – via elpais.com.
  6. ^ "Bilder aus Fatima - Das Fatima-Weltapostolat U.L.F. in Deutschland e.V." www.fatima-weltapostolat.de.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Reisswitz, Crista Kramer von (7 April 2005). ": Sombrero für den eiligen Vater". Spiegel Online.
  9. ^ "Film breaks usual Vatican secrecy". BBC News. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  10. ^ "CIC - Buch 6". www.codex-iuris-canonici.de. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Barrio, Javier Martín del (12 May 2017). "El español que intentó matar al papa 'comunista'" – via elpais.com.
  13. ^ "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)
  14. ^ "- EL MUNDO - Suplemento cronica 679 - «No llegué a herir al Papa»". www.elmundo.es.

External linksEdit