01x02 - Episode 2

Our hatred is concrete.

Our enemy is obvious.

It's Iblis.

It is the Christian.

And, as the Koran says: "I will fill Hell with you all, you and all those after you. "

Please, let my mother be cured.

She is all I have in the world.

You know I have always been so weak and fragile.

Holy Virgin Mary, I am not capable of staying in this world alone.

If she dies, let me die with her.

Good morning!

You're listening to Radio 103.

It's six on the dot, time for "Questions of the Day", when we read out the questions that have been keeping you up at night.

We've selected the ones most asked.

So, here we go.

Number one: how did Pope Francis II die?

Number two: Does anyone believe the story of his sudden illness?

Number three: Didn't the same thing happen to Pope John Paul I?

Number four: Isn't it true that Pope John Paul I caused more than a few problems for the upper echelons at the Vatican?

Number five: Does history repeat itself?

Number six: Who will the new pope be?

Come here!

On your knees.

Just don't get me dirty.

I have to change.

I'm off.

Come back with the new pope in your pocket.

By the way, they say Brannox is very attractive.

Then I will use all my brazen charm to persuade him.

Don't get me all excited once again.

I've got a lot of projects to propose to Brannox.

You only have one project in life, Tomas: to give me pleasure.

The New Pope is Dead Voiello, more than one article insinuates, between lines, of course, that you may have had a hand in Francis II's death.

I can't blame them.

If I were in their shoes, I would be suspicious of me as well.

- Are you nervous?

- I am always nervous.

- I am not a bland man.

- What makes you nervous?

- Haste.

- I agree.

Haste drove us to make a rather questionable choice: Francis II.

We have to convince Brannox to accept before we return to Rome for Francis II's funeral.

Why do you need him to agree in advance?

We can't afford to vote for him in the conclave and then, perhaps, he doesn't accept.

There is a risk.

I am told he is a difficult man full of doubts and lofty.

I want a new pope on the first vote.

Sir John is a priest of the highest caliber.

A true father figure, wise and well-balanced.

We spent many fruitful days of serene study together, during the European Synod.

They say sometimes he tends toward depression.

Do you know of a priest who doesn't have this tendency?

At any rate, it's astounding how many Anglicans he has converted to Catholicism, a multitude.

He did not attend the last conclave.

I find this unbecoming.

He wasn't able to attend because he had to look after his elderly, ill parents.

Speaking of which, he has written me a very moving letter of 36 pages, which I would like to share with all of you.

Please!

What would Pius XIII say?

We have forgotten about Pius XIII.

I have not forgotten him, Gutierrez.

Rather, I am trying to honor him.

Our beloved Lenny began his papacy animated by intransigence, but in the end, he softened.

He was searching for the middle way.

Which is why we are going to see Sir John Brannox.

He is the great theorist of the middle way.

First conscience, then the papal infallibility.

First the softness of compromise, then the dogma.

This, roughly speaking, is Sir John's philosophy.

And the only philosophy that can placate the s*x scandals, the terrorist threats, the drift toward idolatry of Pius XIII and the dreadful suspicions regarding the death of FrancisII.

We are under siege, do you understand that?

Which is why we are at haste.

And which is why we have only one viable candidate: Sir John Brannox.

The famous statue of Cardinal Newman!

I've only heard about that but I've never seen it before.

- Who's he?

- What do you mean?

Sir John's philosophical spiritual mentor.

It's him.

It's not him.

We are the Vatican delegation.

His Eminence is expecting us.

As his Eminence always says, we are all expected, sooner or later.

I told you he tends toward depression.

His Eminence sends his apologies, but he was extremely tired and he never goes to bed later than ten thirty.

He is looking forward to see you in the morning.

Allow me to show you to yours rooms.

It is very important that we see him right away.

We were planning on leaving early tomorrow morning.

Imposible.

Sir John never alters his habits, not even in the face of death.

- Are there ghosts here?

- Yes.

I felt lonely all of a sudden.

But if I I let you come in now, we'll feel even more lonely later.

You made the right decision.

Pleasure leads to pain.

- What's that music?

- I think it's him, Sir John.

- What's he like?

Have you seen him?

- Not yet.

He was tired.

- What is it, a harpsichord?

- No, it's a harp.

- You're wrong, it's a harpsichord.

- Enough.

These noblemen are looking at me.

Lick me.

We will never be apart, will we, John?

Never, Adam, never!

There you are, Eminence!

I finally found you.

They have been sitting there like that, without moving an hour and 10 minutes.

What is it, some sort of embalming process?

No, it's unberarable grief.

Is the one in the tomb their son?

Sir John's twin brother: Adam.

Even after forty years, the Duke and Duchess will sit there like that for another eight hours.

And then, at sunset, Duchess Brannox will sigh, just once.

And the servants will know that it is time to go back inside.

And it's time for you to go inside, as well, Eminence.

- Sir John is waiting for you.

- Finally.

Do you know where I might find Sir John?

You just have, Eminence.

So, here we are faced with the frightful task of having to converse.

Unfortunately they still have not discovered any better way to make someone's acquaintance.

No-sense, of course they have.

What about love at first sight?

Followed by amorous passion, savage and silent.

That would make me uncomfortable.

So let's stick with an old-fashioned conversation.

- I am - You are the star.

Everyone knows who you are!

His Eminence, Cardinal Angelo Voiello.

Do you know how many time I have read your delightful "Man Behind the Scenes"?

- No, how many?

- Once.

Because I said to myself if I read this book again there is a good chance I will turn decidedly bad.

So how do you find me?

- I would say well, Eminence.

- I am enchafed.

It's only others who truly know how I am.

I imagine that you can well imagine the reason for our visit.

I have no imagination, Eminence.

So, in order to lead an acceptable existence, I have learnt to pare down the questions.

Then allow me to inform you.

- Have you already seen my parents?

- I believe I caught a glimpse of them.

You were very fortunate.

It is not easy to intercept them.

They live in the other wing of the castle, the north wing, so as to scrupulously avoid ever having to see me.

- Family dynamics can be wearing.

- Everything can be wearing here.

The weather, the food, the monotony, London.

Do you know why my parents never ever wish to see me?

No.

Why?

Because they believe I did not do enough to save the life of my twin brother Adam, their favorite son, on a cold winter days back in 1985.

I am sorry.

There is little to be sorry about now.

My parents are only doing what all humans do: blaming everything on others.

However, at least we Catholics blame everything on God.

- Actually we give him all the credit.

- Is that not the same thing?

Tell me how much of his life does a Secretary of State spend informing himself?

All of it.

Even when I pray, I inform myself.

That joke is terribly funny, even tough I did not laugh.

- How is our beloved Pius XIII?

- Stable.

- But still in coma, unfortunately.

- Pius XIII was a great pope.

I wept when I learnt his condition was irreversible.

How I wept!

Do you weep, Eminence?

Far too often.

More than one would expect of the Secretary of State.

And what do you weep for?

For Hollywood romances, and friends who suffer.

And you?

What do you weep for?

For the inexhaustible imperfection of the world.

- It must not be easy being you.

- It is not.

I want to make one thing perfectly clear from the start: I loved my brother Adam.

Sir John, when will I see you again?

A question a lover would ask, Eminence.

Last night, in my room, I felt the clear presence of Pius XIII next to me.

What sort of woman do you think she is?

Pardon my vulgarity Sir, but she is a beauty.

Why did you not bring me my box last night?

I did bring it, Sir John.

I left it on your bedside table in the usual place.

I couldn't find it.

Though I managed to fall asleep anyway.

Perhaps it's a sign.

Perhaps.

They are coming back early.

Strange!

So, Eminence, the reason for our visit - How did Francis II die actually?

- Heart attack.

- Like John Paul I?

- Exactly.

One of Giambattista Vico's ever-recurring cycles of human history.

Your brazen tendency to oversimplify alarms me, Voiello.

I suffered when Great Britain voted in favor of Brexit.

Another small step toward the dechristianization of Europe.

You already sound like a pope, Eminence.

And you like an aspiring Secretary of State, Eminence.

Do tell, Gutierrez, how is the weather in Rome, these days?

I haven't been there since I was young, when I was a student at the Gregorian University.

- Constantly mild, Eminence.

- Not here.

Here the weather is a torment.

And life ends up adapting to the weather.

Rome is different.

Rome is joyful.

And life ends up adapting itself to Rome.

How large is your estate Eminence?

I have no idea.

Around 2500 acres or so would I've thought.

The Vatican is only 108.

It would be so much easier to manage, Eminence.

Quite frankly, I am astounded at the method you chose to make me such a proposal.

It's as if you are offering me a position as a CEO.

They're pretending to be unaware of the enormous spiritual weight that such a mission requires.

To be pope, Eminence, is a martyrdom.

And after Pius XIII it's a burden.

And after Francis II it's suspect.

Thank you for your precious help, but being pope is not a martyrdom.

It is an enormous privilege.

Eminence, I am astounded at the results you have obtained.

All those Anglicans converting to Catholicism?

- How did you do it?

- By talking about other things.

For years, these rooms were a temple for lighthearted encounters.

People expect priests to talk about religion.

But I knew that a revealed religion must be poetic.

So I would speak with them about golf, Holderlin, Montale and the Arsenal football club and the way women have of crossing their legs.

Poetry!


And they would discover what it means to be Catholic, means being everything, for everything belongs to the grace of God.

I could hear myself talking and realized that I was playing a part.

Good actors know that at a certain point it is time to withdraw from the stage.

But great actors die on stage.

Because they never stop improving.

And growing, I know.

"Growth is the only evidence of life", Cardinal Newman used to say.

But the everlasting question is: do I want to grow?

Do I want to live?

You want me to be the next pope.

The Church is naked, and you believe the most suitable outfit in which to cloth her is my famous middle way.

But since the Church is already naked, before dressing her again, you need to examine her, the way a doctor would.

Diagnosing the Church is a colossal enterprise, Voiello, which you underestimate gravely.

It is essential to distinguish between what is physiological and what is pathological in the body of the Church.

There.

His Eminence has just explained to you the basic principle of the Middle Way.

Will you take the stage again, Sir John?

I don't know.

I don't know.

You oversimplify things, Voiello.

Today was the first day in a long while, I was unable to speak with God.

The words that came to me were ugly.

Ugly?

How?

False.

And just like that, the flower blossomed, right before my eyes.

I placed a hand on my belly and whispered: "I feel it, Holy Father, I feel it.

" And Pius the XIIIth without looking at me, closed his eyes and said, in a voice filled with grace: "I feel it too, Ester.

Yes, you are pregnant, and you will have a beautiful baby boy.

But please, let's not call it a miracle.

Let's let mystery remain mystery.

" Beautiful, beautiful, Ester.

Your story gives us joy, it restore us our hope.

Yes, hope!

200 euro?

We agreed on 500!

Please don't you start busting my balls.

I'm already late.

200 it's all I can give you.

Besides, you've already told that miracle bullshit 1000 times, on every TV in the world.

Do you like it?

Do you come here to pray or to drink?

First he drinks then he prays to God to help him stop.

Barolo Anversano.

- To Brannox?

- To Brannox!

You're really sure he'll be the new pope?

- I've got an insider very reliable.

- Who?

- My wife.

- Your plan is brilliant, Tomas.

You give a new luster to the term wheeler-dealer.

I don't understand why you are so sure you can get into Brannox's good graces.

Relax, Guicciardini.

Relax.

I am the Minister of Economy and Finance.

Do you realize how exposed I am?

Please don't tell me to relax because that only makes me more upset.

Guicciardini, look the point is this: it's not me who will want to get into Brannox's good graces.

It's Brannox, the new pope, who will want to get into my good graces.

I don't understand.

In the Vatican, whoever knows the pope's secret becomes in reality the pope.

Guess who the only person is who knows the pope's unspeakable secret?

You?

You're a quick learner, Dullio, for a populist.

What's the secret?

Can you picture these photos on lighters, key chains, ashtrays?

I can imagine a healthy sale of papal gadgets.

Can't you?

I am thinking bigger than that.

I can imagine a healthy trade of souls.

He did finally say "I don't know.

" If you ask me, "I don't know" means "yes.

" But he is still so wary, so diffident.

He's studying us.

But we are supposed to be studying him.

What is there to study?

He has all the necessary qualifications to make a great pope: the soporific calm that is in perfect harmony with the Vatican's heartbeat.

The charisma to make people forget the recent past.

The moral equilibrium to defuse the turbulence of the present.

- And what about the future?

- Don't be so naive, Aguirre.

The Church doesn't have time to worry about the future.

What's more, he is persuasive, seductive, he envelops you.

The man seems to be made of velvet.

What do you think, Eminence?

I think we have to hurry.

We don't have much time.

We must raise the question directly.

Leave the talking to me.

Ma'am, Eminences, Sir John would like to speak with you.

Eminence, might I have a word, in private?

I have been looking after Sir John since he was a boy.

He is a magnificent person, but he is also fragile, delicate.

A piece of porcelain.

Beautiful, glazed, and molded by great artists, but a piece of porcelain nevertheless.

His life has been burdened with crippling sorrows and unspeakable disappointments.

We will not be another disappointment.

Sir John will become pope at the first round of voting.

It will be the swiftest conclave in history.

I promise.

- I am a fragile, delicate man.

- True.

A piece of porcelain.

- Am I right?

- A beautiful piece of porcelain.

Perhaps what you need is a man of steel.

No.

That is what lay governments and stupid people need.

We are the Church, Sir John.

Our duty is love.

- Do you know what I crave?

- What?

That you would speak to me of this love.

Now I will truly be honest, Sir John.

I am rather weak on that topic.

I would risk ruining everything.

Perhaps Monsegnor Gutierrez will speak to me of love.

Love is an abstract concept but a necessary one.

Like happiness, like intelligence Like God.

When I was a boy a man took advantage of me.

And as he did so, he would say: "God does not exist.

" And I would answer back, in God's place: "Even if He doesn't exist, we desperately need to believe He is there.

" And you, Eminence?

What is love to you?

A vagrant lays dying on a street corner.

The government says to him: I'll help you.

The doctor says to him: I'll cure you.

His daughter says to him: I'll give you money.

His friend says to him: I'll share my wine with you.

And the Church says nothing to him.

The Church is thinking about him.

Would you accept, Eminence?

Tonight I will search for the answer hidden in my heart.

Tonight the Church is thinking about that vagrant.

And I will be thinking about the Church.

Our hatred is concrete.

Our enemy is obvious.

It's Iblis.

It's the Christian.

And as the Koran says: I will fill Hell with you all, you and all those after you.