01x02 - Episode 02

Say something, Esther.

I love you.

Say something else.

No.

You don't love me.

Yes, I do.

But love's not enough for you.

s*x has its own rules.

s*x only has one rule: procreation.

No...

Are you Sister Mary?

Never call me Sister Mary.

Call me Ma'.

Ok.

You've aged, Andrew, but you've kept your good looks.

You've aged too, Ma, but you haven't.

I should have followed my instincts and broken open the alms box and then spent all the money on a good plastic surgeon.

You have ever regretted becoming a nun?

No! If I hadn't become a nun, I never would have raised my two precious jewels: you and Lenny.

The Pope is a jewel. I'm just a bungling missionary priest.

You're both jewels, Andrew. And besides, you're a cardinal.

Yeah. Which means nothing. Absolutely nothing.

But we aren't here to talk about me, Ma. How's our pope?

In seventh heaven!

In seventh heaven, right.

I mean, who would ever imagined that Lenny would become pope!

Me.

I should go now.

It's never a good idea for a nun to be in a cardinal's room.

Well, if you see our Pope, tell him to hurry up and give his address, because I would like to get back to my good works.

Or bad ones, that remains to be seen.

Don't you like it here?

This place smells like incense and death.

I prefer the smell of sh1t and life.

You haven't changed at all, I see.

And you, Ma?

Will you change?

Now that you've become a powerful woman?

Good morning.

Good morning.

I don't know if it's a good idea, Sofia.

I'm afraid it's premature.

Premature, Your Eminence?

The time it takes to develop and update the merchandise, it means we have to move right away, before the fakes start appearing.

The crooks are always so much faster, who knows how they do it.

Criminal organizations are faster because they don't forgive inefficiency.

At the risk of seeming too materialistic, Your Eminence, do you know how much the Vatican coffers lose for every day that passes without any new papal merchandizing on the market?

Not exactly.

Wow.

Now do you understand why I need the Holy Father's immediate approval?

Yes, I do. But you don't know him.

And believe me, he's not an easy one.

He's a difficult, unpredictable man.

So? I'm a difficult, unpredictable woman.

True. Which is precisely why I'm worried.

Let me handle it. You'll see, it'll go fine.

Help us, Pipita.

Who's Saint Pipita?

He's not a saint, he's the center forward for Napoli.

What a lame joke.

I see you've lost your optimism along with your sense of humor.

Sense of humor is irrelevant for the Secretary of State.

May I smoke as well, Holy Father?

Unfortunately not.

His Holiness John Paul II, in his day, forbid it.

May I tell you something, Holy Father?

That's why we're here.

With all due respect, seen from up close, you are an extraordinarily handsome man.

I had asked to meet the Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy before anyone else, and you, I think it's safe to deduce, are not the Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy.

No, but I would like to be.

So would I. But they made me Pope, instead.

I'm in charge of marketing here in Vatican City.

Did you study marketing in college?

At Harvard, to be precise.

Don't sound so cocky.

The word "Harvard" may impress people around here, but to an American, it means one thing only: decline.

Did you know that when the Archbishop of Boston would visit Harvard, he'd boast to everyone that he never washed his feet?

It was public knowledge, and at Easter, at the washing of the feet, everyone was terrified that the Archbishop of Boston might be chosen.

As soon as I became his superior, I sent him three envelopes.

In the first was a letter transferring him to Alaska, in the second was some soap, and in the third a note card on which I'd written: "choose".

And what did he choose?

The soap.

I imagined.

Right. But what you couldn't possibly have imagined was the fourth letter I sent him.

"Excellent choice, Archbishop", I wrote.

"You'll find plenty of water in Alaska."

A most edifying anecdote, Holy Father.

But I don't want to waste your time, so let me come right to the point of my visit.

Please.

As you know, Your Holiness, the Vatican holds a monopoly on the production of any and all merchandise with an image of the Pope on it.

Today's papal turnover requires us to come up with new designs, which we will then need to get into production as quickly as possible.

All those items with the Holy Father's picture on them, which the faithful just love and which make up a sizable slice of the Vatican budget.

I see. Go on.

What would be required then is a brief photo shoot, which will then enable us to get into production as soon as possible a series of items displaying Your Holiness's picture: key chains, postcards, ashtrays, lighters, picture cards, plates...

Plates?

Yes, of course, Holy Father, plates too.

In addition to the usual plastic plates, which sell for five euro, we were thinking of something more refined.

It occurred to us that we might commission a special plate from Vietri, in Campania.

The craftsmen there do the most marvelous decorations, so naturally we were thinking of creating a plate with your portrait right in the center, painted by the very best Vietri's craftsmen.

Nice. And how much would it sell for?

Forty-five euro, at least. Ah, a reasonable price.

I would say so, considering that we're talking about a craftsmanship, Holy Father, handmade, not some cheap factory production.

Perhaps we could send one to all the heads of State.

An excellent idea, Your Eminence.

Good, very good.

Very good.

Good. - Very good.

Yes, very, very good.

Very, very good.

Good.

Wait a minute. I'll be right back.

Good.

Where did he go?

To get a gun, I imagine.

Come on! It went fine.

Do you see this plate, ma'am?

Yes... of course I see it.

Good.

This is the sort of merchandise I'm prepared to authorize.

But it doesn't have your image on it!

I do not have an image, my good lady, because I am no one.

Do you understand? No one.

Only Christ exists.

Only Christ.

And I'm not worth forty-five, or even five euros.

I am worth nothing.

I don't understand, Holy Father.

Of course you don't, because, as you said earlier, you studied at Harvard.

And Harvard is a place in decline, where you were taught to lower yourselves.

Whereas here, in the Vatican, we try to elevate ourselves.

Who exactly is in charge of curating the image of the Pope?

The Secretary of State entrusted that delicate task to me, Holy Father, two years ago.

Very good. And now I'm going to tell you what you, as curator of the image of the Holy Father, are gonna do.

You are gonna fire the Vatican's official photographer immediately.

No photographs of the Pope are to be issued.

Just as there were none when I was a cardinal or a bishop.

Do you know why? I never allowed my picture to be taken.

And when someone manage to sneak a photograph of me, I always bought them up before they could be published.

Now that I think about it, I've been training my whole life to be an invisible pope.

And so, for my first address, you will see to it that the light is so dim, no photographer, no TV cameraman, and not even the faithful will see anything of me but a dark shadow, my silhouette.

They will not see me because I do not exist.

If I may, Holy Father, what you are proposing is nothing short of suicide, media suicide.

Media suicide, you say?

Fine, now try to keep up with me, if you can.

I'm right with you, Holy Father.

Good.

Ok, so, who is the most important author of the last twenty years?

Careful now, not the best, virtuosity is for the arrogant, the most important, the author who has sparked so much morbid curiosity that he became the most important?

I wouldn't know. I'd say... Philip Roth.

No. Salinger.

The most important film director?

Spielberg.

No. Kubrick.

Contemporary artist?

Jeff Koons. Or Marina Abramovic.

Banksy. Electronic music group?

I don't know the first thing about electronic music.

You say Harvard is a good university! Anyway, Daft Punk.

The best Italian female vocalist?

Mina?

Very good!

Now do you know what it is, what the invisible red thread is that connects them all, all these most important figures in their respective fields?

None of them let themselves be seen.

None of them let themselves be photographed.

But you're not an artist, Holy Father. You are a head of State.

Yes, of a city state so small that it has no outlet to the sea, and in order to survive, its leader has to make himself as unreachable as a rock star.

The Vatican survives thanks to hyperbole.

So we, we shall generate hyperbole, but this time in reverse.

I'm beginning to get your point, Holy Father.

Yes, not only am I beginning to get it, I'm beginning to like it, too.

Good, very good.

Childhood?

His parents, both hippies, abandon him at an orphanage, and they give fake names to Sister Mary making it impossible for Lenny to find them.

Sister Mary's orphanage has ties to Cardinal Spencer's university.

Spencer at that time was in New York.

Of all her little orphans, the only one she recommends to him was Lenny.

A British newspaper got the scoop with the headline "The Pope smokes".

And this is how the world responded.

At Spencer's side we're familiar with the direction his career takes.

Lenny succeeds him when Spencer is called to the Curia.

Very young, he takes over the entire Archdiocese of New York.

He is a cardinal at the age of 42.

But if Lenny was so submissive, so dull... why did Spencer favor him so much?

Precisely because he never threatened Spencer's boundless ego.

And besides, Spencer has always preferred servile underlings.

But now, he's the one who has to serve that little boy.

Lenny's moral conduct?

Irreproachable.

No gossip, no insinuations even.

No love affairs. Nothing.

Sexual orientation?

Unknown.

And what do you think his sexual orientation is?

None.

He only cares about the Church.

And the Church is female.

"Dear Pope, what do I have to do to believe in God?"

Tommy, Amarillo, Texas".

I want us to write back to all the children.

Of course, Holy Father.

And how would you respond to this child, Eminence?

I....

You'd write back and say:

"Dear Tommy, think of all the things you like.

There, that's what God is".

I knew it, there are mice in here.

That's no mouse.

A gift from the Australian Foreign Minister, Holy Father.

We thought we would donate it to the bio park.

What do you mean "bio park"?

The zoo.

Not on your life.

You can come out, sweetie.

We'll set him free in the gardens.

Do you intend to follow me even in my more private moments?

I wasn't following you. I too enjoy communing with nature.

Well, what do you know?

Just one day, and we've already discovered we have something in common.

Don't be funny with me.

I've never been more serious.

And worried. About the Pope.

The Pope is a saint. Let him be the one to worry about you.

Yes, I've been told he chats with kangaroos, a San Francis of Sydney.

By "saint" I don't mean "a good man".

I mean he's literally a saint.

The Holy Father and you would do well to be a little more humble.

The Vatican is a State.

There is politics, finances, there are delicate balances and grave dangers, if those balances are upset.

Yes, but there are also lobbies, internal tensions, scandals, vendettas, and threats.

All of this the Holy Father understands only too well.

His bizarre refusal to show himself in public is just crazy.

To reveal his eyes, right now, maybe too much, too much for the world.

I'm afraid I don't follow you.

You will, one day.

At any rate, let me reassure you that we intend to tackle all the concerns that you have raised, one by one.

We? Who's we? You and the Pope?

Do we have two popes now?

We also intended tackle the question of the Secretary of State.

It's a good thing you've come, Sister Mary, I was getting bored.

I must admit, you're a first-class adversary.

At any rate, here is the address I wrote for him.

I worked on it all night long.

It's a good address. It's well balanced, prudent, and takes account of various positions.

It's diplomatic, in other words.

Haven't you realized the Pope is indifferent to diplomacy?

Yes, and wrongly so.

We are an anomalous State, and diplomacy is the only thing we have, other than a handful of buildings and some works of art.

Let me say again, it's a good address.

I have infused it with all my the commitment, all my passion.

Have you already seen Dussolier?

Ehm... no. Not yet.

Do you have any ideas for your first address?

Because you could ask Spencer for advice.

I don't need Spencer's advice.

That incident today, with the kangaroo was...

Stop it. It was nothing.

Just chance.

Okay, just chance.

And that time when we were...

Stop it.

Good evening, Eminence.

Good evening.

Yes?

Really?

So, how are you?

I have to tell you a wonderful thing that happened to Higuain.

My dear faithful ones, I'm sorry I'm late.

Laughter from the audience.

But here I am.

Look at me.

Only don't look at me. Look up.

The Pope points to the sky and the stars.

Do you see the sky?

Do you see God? No?

You don't see Him?

No matter.

Now look at the person next to you.

Look joyfully upon him, and remember what Saint Augustine said:

"If you want to see God, you have the means to do it.

God is love."

Thank you, Sister Mary.

So, I finally get to meet the Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy.

I've been anxious to see you.

Here I am, Holy Father.

Did you vote for me in the Conclave, Your Eminence?

Not even once.

Why not?

Even though I don't know your ideas, in truth, no one does, you are a pupil of Cardinal Spencer.

Cardinal Spencer is a conservative, a moderate one, but a conservative nonetheless.

I am not a conservative.

I figured that you were probably a conservative as well.

Are you, Holy Father?

What do you think?

I think that if the name you have chosen, Pius XIII, is intended to signal a continuity with Pius XII, then there is the reason for concern.

Let's not forget that Pius XI considered Mussolini to be a man of divine providence.

At any rate, the College of Cardinals was very rash to elect a pontiff whose ideas and... orientation they did not know.

I agree with you.

It was rash.

At any rate, Holy Father, please do not take this as a criticism, or think that this will in any way dampen my obedience.

You asked me a question I considered it my duty to respond truthfully.

I appreciate your sincerity.

I'm going to ask you another question, and you will grant me the courtesy of another sincere answer.

Of course, Holy Father.

Are you homosexual, Your Eminence?

Yes, Holy Father.

Time for your snack, Holy Father.

My snack?

Yes, Holy Father, your snack.

Right, that's what she calls it.

I have to have my snack now.

Goodbye, Your Eminence.

I saw Sister Mary coming out of Cardinal Dussolier's room.

What else?

People are saying that Sister Mary is the real Pope, not you.

Who's saying that?

Cardinal Ozolins.

He's heard it said that Sister Mary uses "we" when she talks about the Pope.

"We will do, we will tackle..."

I overheard him talking to the Vatican Secretary of State:

"Lenny semper puer", he said.

And how did the Vatican Secretary of State react?

He was impassive. He's a clever devil, that one.

But it's a lie, what Ozolins says.

It is a lie.

Isn't it, Holy Father?

Of course it's a lie.

A woman will never become the pope.

I am the Pope.

Good morning, Mrs. Patanè.

Good morning, Cardinal Ozolins.

This office is falling apart, I'm quite fed up.

Give me a hand, Mrs. Patanè.

How many times have I said it needs to be renovated?

Ah, here you are. What alacrity.

It's enough to raise one's voice around here for things to get resolved.

The door won't open. The door, the key.

Aguirre!

How can I thank you, Holy Father, for having entrusted the Vatican Museums to me?

There's no need to thank me.

What made you enter the Church, Your Eminence?

Life is so short. I decided to opt for eternity.

Did you receive your calling as an adult?

No, I heard the call.

Right here, when I was sixteen.

Right here, where May afternoons land.

That light spoke to me and said:

"Be calm, Bernardo, be calm."

The boy had become a man.

My mother, my father, they were here with me.

They looked at me, but they were no longer themselves.

I was no longer myself.

"Where do afternoons land?" the voice of conscience asked.

"They land here", I replied.

And the voice responded calmly, "Yes, it's true, but I will continue to protect the boy."

What have we forgotten?

We have forgotten...

We have forgotten...

What have we forgotten?

We have forgotten... We have forgotten...

What have we forgotten?

We have forgotten...

We have forgotten...

What do you think, Holy Father?

I thought it was beautiful, I thought it was full...

Did I ask your opinion, Sister Mary?

What? No, I just thought... Keep quiet then.

Your address is really beautiful, Eminence.

Balanced, yes, but a balance of love.

Which is exactly what love should be when it is full and resolved.

I, on the other hand, have never truly known what love is.

I have never really lived.

But I've come to the right place, though: a city state filled with lost souls who have never really lived.

Sister Mary?

Sister Mary preferred to dine in her apartment this evening.

What is it you wanted to say to me?

What have you decided about your address?

I've got some very clear ideas about it.

Do you think you might use some of what the Secretary of State wrote?

No.

It's rather weak.

I thought it was beautiful. What a shame, Lenny!

Sister Mary.

Yes, Lenny.

From now on, you are to call me Your Holiness.

As you wish, Your Holiness.

I remembered now what it was I wanted to say to you.

What?

You can let everyone know... that tomorrow evening, at 9:00 p.m., Pope Pius XIII will appear on the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica and deliver his first official address.

I love you, Michael.

I'm so happy you asked me to come see you.

I couldn't wait to talk with you, Michael, to thank you, and to tell you I owe it all to you that I've gotten this far.

You taught me about life, you taught me about Theology.

I was supposed to be pope.

I know. But that was your mistake.

You could have refused the deal Voiello offered you: me trair para se eleger.

What are you talking about? No one ever offered me a deal.

You liar!

But I don't expect anything from you.

You don't know how to love. Don't talk to me like that. Please.

If you think I'm gonna talk to you differently now that you're Pope, let me tell you something, Lenny, that's never going to happen. Never!

Don't talk to me like that, you're hurting me.

I'm hurting you?

You've ruined my life.

You destroyed any sense of destiny in my life.

So I spoke with Assente.

He confessed to being gay.

It's unacceptable that a homosexual heads the congregation that trains priests. He's out.

That's nuts.

I want you to take his place.

We'll work together side by side, every day.

You can continue to mentor me, just like you've always done.

Are you crazy?

People will say you are just doing a favor for a friend.

Who have you taken me for?

Did you really think I'd accept your charity?

Charity? I don't have the power to make you pope, Michael.

It's not true that you don't have the power to make me pope. You do.

What?

Resign.

I'll win in the next Conclave.

I wouldn't be so sure.

The Conclave is mysterious.

You don't know sh1t! You're just the blue-eyed kid.

The Conclave is merely a place where games get played.

Games in which you were never included.

You're just saying that to hurt me.

I'm saying it... because I'm the one who invented all the games that get played during Conclaves.

If you invented them, then why aren't you pope?

I shall soon find out.

Things went the way they did, Michael.

Please, just accept it and accept the post as Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy.

You'll be the most powerful man in the whole Church.

And Michael, help me.

I'm begging you, help me write my first speech.

I need you.

But I don't need you, Lenny.

Help me write my speech, I need your advice.

I have no more advice.

Get out of my house, Lenny.

Why did you have me come here, Michael?

To remind you that you're the Pope now.

And you are all alone.

Just as you have always been.

And that you're a nothing.

Nothing!

Your Holiness Pius XIII...

EU SOU VIRGEM MAS ESTA CAMISETA ɠVELHA Tell me about my parents.

Your parents left you at the orphanage, saying they couldn't keep you anymore because they had to go to Venice.

And you didn't ask them what they had to do in Venice?

We didn't ask questions.

What were they like?

I don't remember, Lenny.

I must have seen thousands of parents leave their children with us, I can't remember them all.

I remember them. At least I remember them in my dreams.

In theory, they might still be alive.

Yes. They'd be just over seventy now.

And, in theory, they might still be in Venice.

They could be anywhere, Lenny.

I search everywhere, I pray everywhere.

But I don't see God.

Because I don't see my father. Because I don't see my mother.

I, on the other hand, see everything.

What do you see?

God's plan.

A complex architecture that depends on you, Your Holiness.

Everything is so clear.

Who's in there?

No one.

Go see for yourself if you don't believe me.

All of Vatican City is yours, Holy Father, and so is this apartment.

No one loves me, which is why I am prepared for every kind of vileness, from everyone.

Holy Father, I see Christ's reflection in you.

And in Dussolier?

I see Christ's reflection in him too.

A paler reflection.

Acqua siamo noi Dall'antica sorgente veniamo. Fiumi siamo noi Se i ruscelli si mettono insieme. Mari siamo noi se i torrenti si danno la mano Vita nuova c'è se Gesù è in mezzo a noi. E allora diamoci la mano e tutti insieme camminiamo. Ed un oceano di pace nascerà. E l'egoismo cancelliamo, un cuore limpido sentiamo. È Dio che bagna del suo amor l'umanità. Nuova umanità. Oggi nasce da chi crede in lui. Nuovi siamo noi.

My dear faithful ones, I'm sorry I'm late. But here I am.

Look at me.

Only don't look at me. Look up.

Do you see the sky?

Do you see God?

No?

No matter.

Now look at the person next to you. Look joyfully upon him, and remember what Saint Augustine said: "If you want to see God, you have the means to do it. God is love."

Pius! Pius! Pius!

Not now.

Let yourself go, Your Holiness.

And if the saint here were you, Gutierrez?

What have we forgotten?

What have we forgotten?

We have forgotten God.

You! You have forgotten God.

I want to be very clear with you.

You have to be closer to God than to each other.

I am closer to God than I am to you.

You need to know that I will never be close to you.

Because everyone is alone before God.

I have nothing to say to those who have even the slightest doubt about God.

All I can do is remind them of my scorn.

And their wretchedness.

I don't have the proof of God existence, it is up to you to prove that He doesn't.

Are you capable of proving that God does not exist?

If you aren't able to prove it, then it means that God does exist.

God exists.

And He isn't interested in us until we become interested in Him, in Him exclusively.

Do you understand what I am saying?

Ex-clu-sive-ly!

Twenty-four hours a day.

Your hearts and minds filled only with God.

There's no room for anything else.

No room for free will, no room for liberty, no room for emancipation.

"Free yourself from God", I've heard people say.

"Liberate yourself from God."

But the pain of liberation is unbearable, sharp enough to kill.

Without God... you are as good as dead.

Dead, abandoned strays wandering the streets.

We want to look you in the face.

You want to look me in my face?

Go see God first!

I won't help you. I'm not gonna show you the way.

Search for it.

Find Him.

And when you have found God, perhaps you will see me as well.

Stop it! How dare you shine a light on your Pope?

What you are doing is more than a simple lack of respect.

I don't know if you deserve me.

I don't know. At this point...

I don't know if you are worthy of me... I don't know...

Help me.

Help me, God.

Help me atone for all the wrong I'll have to do in order to save the Church.