01x01 - Episode 01

[distant baby voice]

[baby panting]

[distant children laugh]

[man panting]

[roll of thunder]

[phone chimes]

[classical music]

♪ ♪

[radio buzzes]

♪ ♪

[radio loosing signal]

[doors creaking]

[roll of thunder]

[female voice vocalizing]

[vocalizing continues]

♪ ♪

[slow music]

[distant roll of thunder]

[distant crowd cheering]

[crowd clamoring and applauding]

[crowd chanting "Pio"]

[rain stops]

[crowd clamoring and applauding]

[camera clicks]

<i>Ciao,</i> Rome!

<i>Ciao,</i> world!

[crowd cheering]

<i>Ciao!</i>

What have we forgotten?

What have we forgotten?

We have forgotten you!

[crowd cheering]

Let me be very clear: I'm here for one very simple reason.

To not forget anyone.

God does not leave anyone behind.

That is what He told me when I decided to serve Him.

And it is what I say to you now.

I serve God. I serve you!

[crowd cheering]

We've forgotten the women and children, who will change this world with their love and their kindness.

And with their marvelous, divine disposition to play.

[crowd cheering]

Play is the only authentic means we have to make us feel in harmony with life.

And to be in harmony with God we have to be in harmony with life.

We don't have a choice: we must be in harmony with God!

[crowd cheering]

And what else have we forgotten?

♪ ♪

We have forgotten to m*st*rb*t*, to use contraceptives, to get abortions, to celebrate gay marriages, to allow priests to love each other, and even to get married.

[bell rings]

We've forgotten that we can decide to die if you detest living, we've forgotten to have sexual relations for purposes other than procreation without feeling guilty!

[bell rings]

<i>Help!</i>

To divorce, to let nuns say mass, to make babies in all the ways science has discovered and will continue to discover.

In short, my dear, dear children, not only have we forgotten to play, we have forgotten to be happy.

And there is only one road that leads to happiness.

And that road is called freedom.

<i>Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus, de quorum potestate et auctoritate confidimus...</i>

What are you saying, Lenny? What's all this nonsense?

You're not the Pope, Lenny!

I am the Pope!

I'm the Pope, and you, Lenny, are no longer a member of the Church.

You are done with God, Lenny.

[uses inhalator]

♪ ♪

What you mean done?

I just barely got started with God.

Who are you, Lenny?

I am a contradiction.

Like God. One in three and three in one.

Like Mary, virgin and mother.

Like man, good and evil.

♪ ♪

<i>Man on the radio: Today Pio XIII's papacy begins. Cardinals are still in Vatican City, and they will leave Rome only after the new Pontiff's first homily.</i>

I am the Pope.

I am the Pope.

Not knowing your tastes, Your Holiness, we took the liberty of preparing a little of everything.

Didn't anyone tell you I don't eat much? Hardly anything, in fact!

All I have in the morning is a Cherry Coke Zero.

We will get some right away.

What's your name?

Domen, Your Holiness.

I am Your Holiness's <i>maggiordomo.</i>

Do you know what Domen means?

"One who belongs to God".

Precisely. So, by transitive property... you belong to me.

How did you sleep, Your Holiness?

I had an amusing dream.

[slap]

Cardinal Ozolins and Cardinal Aguirre slapping each other, and I said the most outrageous things to the crowd in Saint Peter's Square.

Well then, I'll wait here for my Cherry Coke Zero.

In the meantime would Your Holiness care for a regular Diet Coke?

Let's not utter heresies, Domen.

It's death to settle for things in life.

Holy Father, while you wait, may I present Sister Bice, from Nepi, in delightful province of Lazio.

She will be your personal cook.

Sister Bice also served three pontiffs who came before you.

When she was young, she was a missionary in India and fortunately for us, she speaks a good English.

Well, my sweet Holy Father, now what is it you would like to have for your lunch?

[kisses]

You just tell your Bice what you want, and I'll prepare it for you.

<i>Matriciana, pasta e fagioli, carbonara, lasagne...</i>

Am I mistaken, did she say "my sweet"?

Your Holiness, Sister Bice is rather... quaint.

No, Domen, she is not quaint.

She's friendly.

Mother...

Let me explain something to you, that you, in your long life, have not yet had the occasion to understand: friendly relationships are dangerous.

They lend themselves to ambiguities, misunderstandings, and conflicts, and they always end badly.

Formal relationships, on the other hand, are as clear as spring water.

Their rules are carved in stone.

There's no risk of being misunderstood and they last forever.

Now, you need to know-- I do not appreciate friendly relationships. But I'm a great admirer of formal ones.

Where there are formal relationships there are rites and where there are rites the earth order reigns.

Your Holiness, His Eminence the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Prefects of the Various Congregations can't wait to make your acquaintance and to welcome you.

Well, they're gonna have to.

Because first I have to drink my Cherry Coke Zero.

May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust His mercy.

Your sins, Voiello?

Tommasino, don't waste my time.

My sins have to do with high finance and diplomacy.

Even if I were to confess them, you wouldn't understand a thing.

So confess those I can understand.

I've had impure thoughts.

About who?

About the Venus of Willendorf.

Who's she?

The Paleolithic statue the Pope keeps in his library.

It's 25,000 years-old.

Impure and gerontophilic thoughts about a statue...

What sort of penance can I assign for that?

You're making things difficult for me, Voiello!

You think about it and let me know.

I'm in a hurry.

♪ ♪

Look, guys, the Holy Spirit is blowing away.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit, what do you think?

Did He illumine the cardinals?

The naiveté of you Africans is really touching.

Do you really believe that the Holy Spirit elects the Pope?

We Africans, no, but we Catholics, yes, that is what we believe.

Don't you, Ozolins?

Well the Holy Spirit is not stupid but He is ironic and cunning.

I don't understand.

What he's trying to tell you... is that here in Vatican... the Holy Spirit is just another name for Voiello.

Belardo is forty-seven years old.

That's young.

Which means we won't live to see another pope. How sad!

Caltanissetta, it's already a miracle that you've lived long enough to see this one.

I'm not so sure that Voiello has shown good leadership this time.

I've never really trusted Voiello myself.

He's the devil incarnate.

Spencer would have been the right choice.

Far too independent, and that wouldn't have been a good news for us cardinals.

[uses inhalator]

True.

But all we have in exchange is a telegenic puppet.

And that means that he can be manipulated.

This is a masterpiece of Voiello's diplomatic cunning, the way he shepherded the cardinals' votes to Belardo.

Now Belardo holds office, but Voiello is pulling the strings.

And he'll run things the way we tell him, because once again we saved his life.

I may be African, and I may be naive, but if you ask me... you're simplifying the future to an unhealthy degree.

I'm in agreement with our African colleague.

What do you mean by that?

That you've forgotten to ask one fundamental question.

What's Spencer going to do now that his beloved, detested protégé has become pope?

♪ ♪

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" said Jesus before he was about to die.

Which is what I say to you now, before I begin to live.

God's infinite silence...

God's infinite silence...

God's infinite silence.

[radio loosing signal]

[helicopter hovers]

[bell rings]

Your Holiness... your sins.

I don't have any sins to confess.

Are you serious?

My only sin, and it's an enormous one, is that my conscience does not accuse me of anything.

<i>Ego te absolvo peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.</i>

If I always heard confessions like yours, Your Holiness, I'd be out of a job.

How many confessions do you hear in the Vatican, Don Tommaso?

Me?

The entire Curia, a good number of nuns and priests, as well as several lay employees who work in Vatican City.

[footsteps approaching]

♪ ♪

How old are you?

Sixty-one.

And how's your eyesight?

I don't even wear glasses.

And your hearing?

My only problem is my hair, Your Holiness.

You mean it's falling out?

Not only that. Sometimes it hurts.

Your hair hurts?

Good, very good!

[exhales smoke]

I'll be frank, Don Tommaso, I need you.

You must do something very important for the eminency of your pontiff.

Whatever you wish, Holy Father. Tell me.

Come then, I'll tell you in the confessional.

Confessional booths are so beautiful.

They look like little mountain huts.

Do you like the mountains?

I don't like the snow.

Here's what I want you to do.

♪ ♪

Behold the Naples trinity, Federico.

Your Eminence.

Do you know how many books have been written about me?

Seventeen.

Eighteen.

The last one's going to press next week, and it's got the best title of all.

Which is?

The Man Behind the Scenes.

Beautiful.

Of course. I suggested it myself.

Who wrote it?

Manna, that leftist reporter.

That means it's going to be critical of you, Your Eminence.

Of course, those are the best. They turn you into a legend.

[bursts into laughter]

Don't overdo it now, or people will know you're faking it.

Forgive me, Eminence, but that was a good one.

You should laugh, but in proportion.

[door opens]

Valente.

His Holiness?

He's at the Heliport.

He just got here, and he already wants to leave?

[very repressed laughter]

Now you could have laughed a little more.

He sent me to tell you he'll be late for your meeting, Eminence.

Okay, but if you see him, tell him not to be too late, because I, unlike him, have a lot to do.

I've got to steet this boat, which that indecisive fisherman Peter left me.

[moderate laughter]

Valente, what do you make of him?

He's a man of little appetite. Actually... very little.

This is not a good sign. Not a good sign.

[children shouting]

[helicopter hovering]

♪ ♪

Ma'.

Don't ever call me Ma'. Call me Sister Mary.

What's that?

My father gave it to me.

You can give it to me if you like. I'll hold on to it for you.

No. My father said that I should always keep it with me.

Lenny!

Sister Mary.

Here you are, my saint.

No, I'm not a saint.

Yes.

Do you still have it on you?

[chuckles]

Always.

What's this?

A replica of the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

It's being restored.

From now on, you're going to be living at the exact center of the Church.

But I don't understand. What does that mean?

That means that just now the center of the Church took a few steps back.

Do you like the apartment?

I'll be just fine here.

You're only a few feet away from me.

On the plane I read this amusing description of Rome: "A suburb of Vatican City." [laughs]

Well, that's not exactly true, but it will be.

What's wrong, Lenny?

What's not wrong, Sister Mary.

North is that way.

Where Venice is.

Listen to me, Lenny.

Starting today, you have to lead the Church.

One billion people.

One fifth of the world's population.

Do you understand what I'm saying, Lenny?

One billion people will depend on what you say and do.

They'll make important decisions, happy or sad, of life or death, in order to obey you, in the name of God.

All of this creates a new perspective.

An immense perspective.

Now, your personal aches, your enormous sufferings, your terrible memories...

It's a harsh thing to say, Lenny, but I have to say it, they must take a back seat.

They are things of this earth.

Do you understand what I'm saying, Lenny?

I know all your sorrows, I've lived with them together with you, I've wept over them with you, but now the time has come for you to let your sorrows to fade, to become irrelevant, distant memories, insignificant, vanquished, destroyed and overpowered by the terrible responsibility that God has given you.

From now on, you are no longer Lenny Belardo, the fatherless, motherless boy.

From now on, you are Pope Pius XIII, Father and Mother of the entire Catholic Church.

[bell rings]

Allow me to say, Your Holiness, what joy!

What joy!

The Holy Spirit could not have illumined us in a better manner.

In the name of the entire Church, welcome.

May your pontificate be long, radiant, and fruitful.

Let's settle for long.

[chuckles]

What a telling joke!

Jokes are never telling. They're jokes.

Well, Holy father, first of all, a small piece of information of a practical and picturesque nature...

Under your desk, on the right, you will find a button.

If you feel that an encounter is becoming disagreeable or a waste of time, all you have to do is to press it discreetly, and an assistant will swiftly appear with some excuse, liberating you from your engagement.

He'll lie, in other words.

Yes, but he'll have plenty of time and opportunity to repent.

[all laughs]

Well, Holy Father, if you agree, I would like to start with our top priorities.

The most urgent of them all is your first homily in Saint Peter's Square.

There is a great deal of agitation about it, something which I, in my long career, have never quite seen before.

The entire office of the Secretary of State is working on it.

[voices become distorted] I myself worked all night long on a rough draft, which I would like to submit you.

The press and the faithful who are coming here from every corner of the globe were all convinced that you were going to deliver your homily today.

We did an excellent job at calming their spirits, but at the same time, Your Holiness, I am sorry to say that we can only delay for so long.

Tomorrow would be ideal.

There, this is the most pressing issue.

The most pressing issue is my need for a cup of American coffee.

Would you make me one, Your Eminence?

Certainly. Amatucci.

I didn't ask him.

I asked you.

It will be a pleasure and an honor for me to bring you coffee, Your Holiness.

[Amatucci laughs]

Thank you, Your Eminence.

It's my duty, Blessed Father.

♪ ♪

Holy Father, now, about your homily, how would we like to proceed, then?

Later.

And has the Holy Father already thought of some candidates for the delicate role of a special assistant?

I have an idea.

I do too.

Monsignor Gemelli comes to mind...

My idea is Sister Mary.

[music stops]

An admirable idea, Your Holiness, and completely understandable.

Allow me to add, however, that unfortunately, the Curia has complex mechanisms which might seem like astrophysics.

Therefore, the Holy Father's inevitable lack of experience, together with Sister Mary's inevitable lack of experience would lead me to suggest an internal contribution...

Of course I realize how central Sister Mary seems to you.

We could invent a sort of ad hoc role for her.

We won't lack for imagination around here.

Yeah.

You're exactly right, Voiello. She's central.

Sister Mary took me in at her orphanage when I was 7 years old, she raised me and she loved me. She made me a good Christian.

A great Christian!

Monsignor Gemelli is experienced, I would rely on him.

Perhaps you didn't hear me correctly.

Perhaps, Holy Father. My English does have its limits.

You'd better improve it then.

Sister Mary will be my special assistant.

As you wish, Holy Father.

Then, of course, there is the matter of drafting and delivering your address to the College of Cardinals.

They're all still here.

They will not leave the Vatican until you address them.

Later.

In the office of the Secretary, we have been wondering if the Holy Father would care to provide us with some indications regarding the draft of an encyclical.

Later.

The prefects of the various congregations are of course eager to see you with their own eyes.

But I imagine that you would like to deal with this matter... later?

No, now.

First off, I want to meet the Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy.

At any rate, Holy Father, I understand your reluctance about the encyclical.

Your predecessor always made me laugh when he said that... an encyclical is like Proust's "In Search of Lost Time".

"Everyone quotes it, but no one reads it."

[laughs]

[bell rings]

Are you sleeping, Holy Father?

No Your Eminence, I'm praying.

For you.

[light flicks]

Stop looking at the Venus of Willendorf in that way.

[clears throat]

Holy Father, Holy Father, smoking is not allowed in the papal palace!

Is that so?

Who decided that?

John Paul II.

The Pope?

Yes, the Pope.

There's a new Pope now.

True.

Your Eminence...

Yes, Holy Father.

You're too tied to the past.

They say the same thing about you, Your Holiness.

The past is an enormous place, with all sorts of things inside.

Not so with the present.

The present is merely a narrow opening, with room for only one pair of eyes.

Mine.

[buzzing]

Your eminence.

Yes.

Our top priorities.

Here I am. As I was saying...

You will be in charge of politics, finance, theology, appointments and promotions.

I will take care of worldly matters, travel, adulation of the masses, celebrations.

A most effective division of roles, Holy Father.

Your Eminence.

Yes, Blessed Father?

I was just kidding.

That wasn't obvious?

Hardly!

So, as I was saying, our top priorities are... One: the Radio Vatican signal needs boosting. It is unacceptable that reception is so poor. Two: the pope wants to see all the gifts the pope receives. Have a storage facility fitted out for storing all the gifts I receive. Three: the Vatican must immediately buy back the papal tiara from the basilica in Washington DC, which my predecessors, who favoured sobriety over tradition, imprudently let go.

And four...

Sister Mary will also look after you.

She will oversee all your activities and report directly back to me.

She will be your guardian angel.

I'm sixty years, Holy Father.

I don't need a guardian angel.

Oh, we all need a guardian angel, Voiello.

Especially unscrupulous, ambiguous men.

Then, please, allow me to choose mine myself.

In another life.

In this life, the Pope chooses your guardian angel for you.

And he is the Pope.

Did you call for me, Holy Father?

[door opens]

Papa!

[door closes]

It all comes back to this in the end, doesn't it?

To the mother.

How was your mother like, Monsignor Gutierrez?

She was a woman who did not scorn wickedness.

And it had the effect of creating a son full of goodness.

I've inquired about you.

Everyone tells me you are a shining example of goodness.

I thank you for believing them, Holy Father.

It is I who should thank you, for allowing me to be here without hordes of tourists.

That's my duty, Holy Father.

Was it hard? To close off the Basilica to tourists?

No, no, all we had to do was hang up a sign saying "closed".

[clears throat]

I will never shed my aversion to tourists.

Why is that, Holy Father?

Because they are just passing through.

I was late because I couldn't find your office.

I know. You opened the wrong door and found yourself face to face with some visitors to our museum.

Oh, you've been inquired about me too.

It's very difficult to keep anything secret here in the Vatican.

Rumors fly so quickly that sometimes they arrive even before the event has taken place.

That's quite a useful piece of information for my future.

Which is exactly what it was intended to be, Holy Father.

What is one to do, Monsignor?

It's the times. In America, we call it gossip.

Here in the Vatican we call it calumny.

This way.

♪ ♪

[footsteps approaching]

How many years have you been at the Vatican?

So many that I've stopped to counting.

Do you like it here?

Yes, I feel safe here.

It's as if time were dead.

Speaking of that time, the other day, during the Conclave, I read an Italian newspaper.

It was an article about this politician who had hidden some compromising files in the gaps between the walls of his house.

Yes, I read about that as well.

I thought...

I wouldn't need to hide anything in the gaps in my house.

Because my mind is a gap.

And everything that is hidden from me, sooner or later... is revealed.

As if it were being entrusted to me.

A precious skill for leading the Church.

It's not a skill, Gutierrez... it's my destiny.

[doorbell]

[clears throat]

Federico, do you know why all the good souls of this world rage against power?

Why, Your Eminence?

Because they simply don't know what it is.

What is it?

Power is knowledge.

What is it you want to know, Eminence?

Who is Pius XIII? Or rather, who was Lenny Belardo?

You need to carry out a small investigation, discreet but thorough.

His week spots, traumas tribulations and sins.

Especially his sins.

Because the sins we commit in the past are the same ones we'll commit in the future.

Because man is like God. He never changes.

I'll start right in.

But is the situation of this papacy already that serious?

No, not yet. But if it were to become so, we'll be ready.

Because the powerful may have knowledge, but they don't realize what it takes to be more powerful than anyone else.

And what does it take?

See how beautiful it is?

It takes getting knowledge before anyone else does.

Fabulous.

[distant seagulls]

[sirens blaring]

Go on, Tommaso, don't be afraid.

But violating the secret of the confessional is...

No, no, it's not.

Not if the information is intended for me, the Pontiff, and is for the survival of our Church.

Don't disappoint me, Tommaso.

Your Holiness, I'm just a poor, simple priest, and the secret of the confessional is the only respectable thing I have.

Today. But think of tomorrow.

Scarlet robes and the ring are in your future.

The cardinalship, my dear. Which is much more respectable.

What if someone hears us?

Only he can hear us up here.

Who knows where he is?

There! By the big dipper.

That's where God's house is.

God's house! What's it like?

Half of a duplex, with a private swimming pool.

Come on now, tell me people's sins.

Well... have I already told you about Voiello's impure thoughts about the Venus of Willendorf?

Yes, yes you told me already. What else?

[laughs]

No, nothing...

Cardinal Aguirre did an imitation of you today, Your Holiness.

Everyone laughed.

Did you laugh?

Yes, but to myself. So no one noticed.

Good. What else?

Everybody is wondering who Sister Mary is to you, what she's doing here.

What else?

Everybody is also wondering: is the Pope thinking about his first homily?

I ask myself the same thing all the time.

Of course I'm thinking about it.

It's all I think about. I even dreamed about it.

I'm let you in on a secret: ever since I was little, I've learned to confound people's ideas on what's going on in my head.

You're so wise, Holy Father.

Not only that, I'm also intransigent, irritable, vindictive... and I have a prodigious memory.

And now I want to make my confession.

Fine. Let's go back downstairs--

No, here.

Before the house of God.

Oh... okay.

<i>In nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.</i>

God, my conscience does not accuse me, because you do not believe I am capable of repenting.

And therefore, I do not believe in you.

I don't believe you are capable of saving me from myself.

Holy father, what are you saying?

I'm saying that I don't believe in God, Tommaso.

What are you saying, Blessed Father?

Tommaso, Tommaso.

I was joking.