Official Vatican announcement shortly. What a giant among men! He goes to his MUCH deserved rest and reward. Here is the earliest available obit.
Pope John Paul II was the most influential and effective leaders of the Catholic church in modern times. He was conservative, some might say orthodox in his views and that was exactly what the church needed to remain relevant.
Rather than liberalize, which was what the Catholic church had been doing for decades prior, he emphasized convention and strict adherence to traditional Catholic beliefs, morals and ethics. He resisted compromising the churches tenants to increase the size of the flock as many other religions have done, unsuccessfully I might add. He stressed conversion of people to the Catholic belief rather than conversion of Catholics beliefs to the wims of the people.
It will be argued for years to what extent was his influence in the demise of communism. Suffice it to say he definately played a part, personally, I believe a significant part. A peoples faith and religion are the nemesis of communism and he strengthened both.
A truly righteous and compassionate man of the people, he will be sorely missed. I did not agree with everything he stood for, but his motives were always genuine and his heart pure.
He made the world a far better place for having lived and that is the the most divine offering a mortal man can hope for.