Written by Paolo Sorrentino and Stefano Rulli
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Lenny tells Don Tommaso he is more concerned about his own power than the church; he will sustain his power because everyone else is inconsequential. Tommaso is horrified by this admission.
“The young are always more extreme than the old.” - Cardinal Michael Spencer
Spencer berates Voiello for allowing Lenny's victory, but Voiello insists he did not meddle in the conclave and credits “the breath of the holy spirit” with Lenny's election. In the papal apartment, a guilty Lenny prays, asking for God’s guidance and forgiveness.
The cardinals discuss the fallout from the pope’s homily, which Ozolins blames on Voiello’s inability to manage Lenny. Caltanisetta calls for a dramatic gesture to save the church – Voiello’s resignation.
Voiello confronts Lenny about his speech, and the pope pushes back, asserting he will do things his way – regardless of public opinion. Voiello refuses to resign, but the meeting is interrupted by Cardinal Ozolins who has come at Lenny's invitation. Ozolins, formerly in charge of the pope’s travel, is reassigned to Alaska, as Pius XIII doesn’t intend to waste time "roaming the world.”
Critiquing the pope’s speech, Caltanisetta tells Lenny he doesn’t think he should have told the crowd to question God’s existence. Lenny tells Sister Mary there will be a press conference to further clarify the intentions of his papal reign – and she will read his statement.
“This pope is strange and contradictory.” - Voiello
Sister Mary asks Voiello if he would have preferred Spencer as pope. He says no: Spencer is smart but a loose cannon. She meets with Spencer and reprimands him for wallowing about being passed over. Sister Mary tells him Lenny needs him but Spencer is not receptive.
Addressing the press, Sister Mary relays Pius XIII’s indifference to public criticism and reinforces his intention to contrast his infallibility with the public’s human fallibility. She communicates he will implement his plan without hesitation or compromise. Sister Mary retreats, leaving the reporters with many unanswered questions.
Valente, Lenny’s assistant, tells Lenny that Spencer would like to see him. Lenny allows an audience, and Spencer asks Lenny why he is turning the press against himself. Lenny reveals his plan: to reject them to create a greater desire. Spencer attributes this strategy to Lenny's childhood experience with parental rejection.
Mesmerized by Esther’s silhouette in the Vatican garden, Lenny asks Valente to retrieve her, unaware that the two once had a relationship. Esther tells Lenny she loved and understood his speech, and Lenny faints into her arms. Esther cradles him Pieta-like, as the Virgin Mary held Jesus.
Voiello pesters Lenny to handle the Kurtwell case, one that involves allegations of sexual abuse against a priest in the United States. Instead, Lenny confronts Voiello about the details of his election. Voiello says Lenny was “supposed to be the pope of compromise,” but his conduct has been the opposite what the cardinals anticipated. Voiello snaps and Lenny retaliates, instructing Sister Mary to have Valente produce the proper procedure for deposing a cardinal.
Shaken, Voiello tells Sister Mary the pope has no understanding of politics if he is considering deposing him. He then goes to Spencer to pull the old cardinal out of his despair. Moved by Voiello’s effort, Spencer begs his former protégé for forgiveness and accepts his earlier offer of a position on the Congregation for the Clergy. Lenny coolly informs him there are no remaining positions, and advises Spencer to call him ‘His Holiness.’
Lenny meets with a group of bishops who voice their concerns about his speech. Told that parishioners now have seeds of doubt planted in their minds, and many of them are scared, Lenny remains unapologetic and unwavering.
With Cardinal Gutierrez in the garden, Lenny admits he joined the priesthood "for lack of a better alternative.” He confides in Gutierrez, telling him of a brief romance he had before entering the seminary.
“Never reveal your sources.” - Voiello
Voiello approaches Cardinal Gutierrez and lets him know his power comes from blackmailing people. Aware of Gutierrez’s drinking problem, he compels the fearful cardinal to keep him abreast of his conversations with the pope.
Gutierrez and Lenny chat in the garden again, and Lenny reveals he is unsure about his abilities and his belief in God.