The news has been full of little else, since the death of Pope John Paul II; now we hear: Habemus Papam – we’ve gotten us a pope, in the vernacular. The new pontif is Josef Ratzinger, installed as Pope Benedict XVI PP.
Even those with no interest in religion/Catholicism may wish to ponder the political influence of the papacy; 1.07 billion Catholics (Vatican statistics) would have, effectively, divided loyalties – to the leader of their church and the leaders of their states (not that we would ever see divergence in views here. Cough.) Even in this day and age, the Pope is an emperor of sorts and a statesman on the world stage with no less significance than the Dubyas and Putins of the world.
Update – Wikipedia article available.