Following his sudden heart attack, Pope Pius XIII lies in a coma while his followers fervently pray for a miraculous recovery. As the threat of terrorism and the potential risks of Pius's idolatry loom, Secretary of State Cardinal Voiello is pressured to bring a new pope to power and, with the conclave at a deadlock, makes a hasty move that throws the Church into even greater chaos.
As rumors swirl about the Church's role in a sudden death, Voiello, Gutierrez, Assente, Aguirre and Sofia travel to the UK to the grand estate of Sir John Brannox, hoping to convince him to return with them to the Vatican and accept the holiest of roles. An alluring but sensitive man who carries with him an unshakeable family tragedy, Brannox is harder to sway than expected, but a determined Voiello presses ahead. Meanwhile, Ester shares her son's story with the press to makes ends meet.
As Sir John leaves for the Vatican, everything appears to be going to plan. But the secretary of state could never have predicted Cardinal Spalletta's next move.
John Paul III travels to Venice to visit Pius XIII. Meanwhile, a tragedy in Lourdes calls for the presence of the new Pope.
John Paul III meets Sharon Stone, who gives him new ideas. Meanwhile, the connection between the Pope and Sofia is deepens.
The breath of Pius XIII is broadcasted on the radio. Meanwhile, John Paul III is preparing for a "historical" interview.
Voiello bows out. Cardinal Assente succeeds him, but his policy is not to the taste of all cardinals. The Vatican decides to put an end to radio broadcasts transmitting the breathing of Pius XIII. A decision that ignites the idolaters.
Having uncovered John Paul III's secrets, Voiello begins his plan to regain power. Meanwhile, Lenny Belardo has secretly returned to the Vatican and Voiello, thanks to the striking nuns, acts out his plan to regain power.
Terrorists hold a priest and six students hostage at Ventotene.