Written by Paolo Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Safe from prying eyes, Lenny prays for Dussolier while underwater in a pool. He relaxes and distracts himself at the papal summer residence while Sister Mary openly mourns her protege’s death.
Cardinal Marivaux tells Lenny about the Blessed Juana, a young girl who died of leukemia in 1980. Revered in Guatemala, Juana is considered a saint there. Marivaux suggests she deserves canonization because many terminally ill children recovered after hearing her stories about the Madonna.
Sister Mary comes to Lenny and tells him his decision to make abortion unforgivable has unleashed radical protests against him worldwide.
“I’m not a man who is comfortable on vacation.” - Lenny Belardo
At the pope’s behest, Sofia arrives at the summer estate. Aware Pius needs to improve his likability, Sofia suggests a trip to Africa to celebrate the 30th anniversary of of Sister Antonia’s first village of goodness. She also tells him his favorite author, Elmore Cohen, is on vacation in Rome and interested in an audience.
Lenny helicopters back to the Vatican to speak with Cohen. Lenny maintains writers and men of the cloth are the same in their obsession with mystery in order to maintain relevance. The two talk about sex and love, and when Cohen apologizes for being coarse, Lenny says his profession qualifies him to confront sin.
“Your life, your papacy is an unforgettable adventure.” - Cardinal Michael Spencer
Spencer tells Lenny his doctors have discovered something wrong with him, but they’re not quite sure what. Spencer reveals all priests, himself included, have experienced a crisis of faith at one time or another. Lenny asks how he might be able to restore the church’s faith; Spencer advises him to “go to Venice and bury two empty coffins.”
Performing mass in St. Peter’s Square, Lenny informs the faithful he will not be there the following Sunday due to his travel plans. The press corps perks up at the announcement and Sofia grins. On their way to Africa, Sofia fends off questions and reveals the pope will not be speaking to the press on the flight. A brash American journalist shouts her question through the plane’s divider: Is the pope avoiding the Kurtwell matter because he is being blackmailed by the archbishop?
Voiello first approaches Sister Antonia to confiscate her cellphone before her meeting with the pope. Adding insult to injury, he hands her breath mints – courtesy of the pope. Lenny steps out of car for a cursory tour of the village and is told that the bureaucrats, soldiers and gangs have hijacked the safe drinking water. Confessing to an African priest, Lenny admits to mundane sins that have been weighing on him, and confides he is upset Esther and Peter left the Vatican without saying goodbye. When he asks for penance, the priest slips him a note, begging for his help -- Sister Antonia hides the clean water and uses it to control her followers.
At dinner, the pope confronts Sister Antonia and asks if she is a good person. When she hesitates, Lenny clarifies the reason for his visit: “You think I’m here to honor you? In fact, I’m here to ascertain your temptations.”
The pope wakes up in the middle of the night, restless. He wanders through the deserted village and catches a couple of boys licking condensation off the glass panes of windows – a sight that horrifies him.
“I, on the other hand, won’t speak to you about God until there is peace. Because God is peace. And peace is God.” - Pope Pius XIII
Upon his departure, the pope speaks to the African people and denounces those who take advantage of the adversity they face. He gives an inspiring speech. Lenny quietly enters the press’ section of the plane on the return flight. The only journalist who is awake assures him the speech was beautiful.
Lenny asks to stop at the nearest gas station on the drive from Naples to Rome. He begins praying intensely, seeking an answer about Sister Antonia. In Africa, Sister Antonia suffers a violent heart attack.