Bill Blakemore, ABC's Vatican correspondent from 1978 to 1983, on America's PBS network said of John Paul II:
He's very down-to-earth. For him there's no difference between a spiritualistic world of religion up here and the flesh and blood, down-to-earth world of cause and effect and science down here. This Pope loves science, he's got an inquiring mind. He has a group of scientists from around the world that he calls in every year. He's very much aware of theories of relativity and the Big Bang, and what science is doing in outer space. ... His Vatican recently named 2001: A Space Odyssey as one of the most important movies of all time. We know that he sees no division between what science is saying and what his religion is saying. He often uses the quote from Jesus, "The truth will make you free," or, "It's the truth that makes us free." And...this is sort of the third corner of the triangle, if you will -- between his faith, his politics, and his science. They're all in the same world. The political story surrounding Jesus is very real to him. The ideas of trans-substantiation, of afterlife being mysterious, of how they might be illuminated by the theories of relativity, of what modern science is doing to figure out the mechanics of the Big Bang, of what Darwinian science is telling us about how our bodies evolved.
On the same theme, apaprently on March 2, 2001, "Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: A Space Odyssey was screened at the Vatican ... for film fan His Holiness Pope John Paul II."
Not only that, but in 1995, "the Pontifical Council for Social Communications honored the hundredth anniversary of the motion picture by issuing a list of forty-five praiseworthy films. It is not unthinkable that Pope John Paul II, himself a screenwriter, had some say in the council’s selections." And Kubrick's 2001 was listed in the Art category.
As a guy who's turned his PC into a HAL9000 (the red glowing interface on my desktop and famous lines being cued by various computer operations), I find this simply awesome.