There's a very interesting thread in the Online Dialog Forum that began talking about items in the news and has devolved (quickly) into a thread on the imporatance of the Pope, so I thought I'd provide some links to information about the Pope.
First, here's Wikipedia's take on the life of John Paul II. Wikipedia, for those who don't know is an online encyclopedia, typically filled with more information on any subject than you could possibly ever read. It's also interesting cause it has links galore to other subjects to show you how the world is intertwined.
Second, CNN did an in-depth report about the Pope and the papalcy in general.