Pope’s would-be assassin soon to be released from prison; more on Book of Daniel

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Vatican correspondent Stacy Meichtry reports on Monday on the upcoming release from jail of the man who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II: Mehmet Ali Agca, the gunman who shot John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square, is reportedly set for release from a Turkish prison this week, capping decades of jail time that resulted from the 1981 assassination attempt and a previous murder conviction. According to the state-affiliated news agency Anatolia, Agca could be released Thursday (Jan. 12) as a result of a court ruling that drastically reduced his initial sentence for the 1979 murder of Abdi Ipekci, a newspaper editor. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the Vatican had not received word from Turkish authorities of Agca’s pending release as of Sunday evening. “The Holy See has learned only from news agencies of the news of the possible freedom of Ali Agca,” he said in a brief statement late Sunday (Jan. 8).

We take another look at the controversial new NBC drama that premiered on Friday (Jan. 6), “The Book of Daniel“: NBC’s new series “The Book of Daniel” is the first network show in years to center on a man of God: an Episcopal priest played by Aidan Quinn. But those who tune in expecting a rehash of the WB’s “7th Heaven,” a warmhearted drama about a minister’s family that built lessons in every hour, will be bewildered and possibly shocked. “What I tried to do,” said series creator Jack Kenny, “is show religion in a very real context with these particular people, not to say, `You should be like this,’ or `This is the way all priests are, and the way all people’s families are,’ but `This is how this one particular family is. Please take a look.”‘ By Matt Zoller Seitz.

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