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Volume 1.1
January 2003

Books
Review: The New Faithful: Why Young Adults are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy
Jim Bowman

Columns
Celibacy in Corporate America
Kenny Moore

Companions
Visits with Southern Mexico’s Street Children and Indigenous People
Morgan Zo Callahan

Food
Multinational Corporations and Extremist Environmentalists Impact on Small and Medium Family Farmers
Edward Fashing

Jesuits
A Jesuit Think Tank for the World?
John J. Deeney

Chapter Eight, "Ministry," from Passionate Uncertainty: Inside the American Jesuits
Eugene C. Bianchi and Peter McDonough

Letter from the California Provincial on the SOA Ignatian Family Teach-in
Thomas H. Smolich, SJ

Just Good Company
Just Good Company will be a Prophetic Company
Denis Collins, SJ

Papacy
If I Were Pope
Michael Leach

Pope Jack The First,  a screenplay
Patt Shea and Bud Wiser

Poetry
July on Swan's Island
Donald Junkins

Rome Diary
Rome Diary Index
Current Issue
Robert Blair Kaiser

Sex
Addressing Sexual Abuse 
Peter Timmins

Samara Wark

Women
Si todas las mujeres del mundo ...
Hna. M. Augusta Ghisleni, FSCJ


 

Pope Jack the First 

A Screenplay ©1999 by Patt Shea and Bud Wiser

The year was 1294. The College of Cardinals was deadlocked, unable to elect a pope. Desperate, the cardinals plucked a simple monk, Peter of Morrone, from his secluded mountaintop abbey, rode him into Rome on the back of a donkey, and elected him pontiff. It could happen again.

©1999 by Patt Shea and Bud Wiser. No part of this literary property shall be copied or offered for sale.


 

PETER JENNINGS

...and so we continue to wait for the traditional puff of white smoke... 

DAN RATHER
(same background)

...the age old signal that a new pope has been elected. 

TOM BROKAW
(same b.g)

Never has the world's attention been more  focused on the selection of St. Peter's successor. Who thought that after such a short time the cardinals would be at it  again? 

JENNINGS

...The death of the last pope after serving such a short time was a shock to the world. 

BROKAW
(Rather's voice lip synched)

Whoever the new pope is, it will fall to him to lead the world's more than one billion Catholics into the new century and the new millennium. 

RATHER
(Jennings' voice)

...as we gather on this grim, gray December day, the twenty-first century is fast approaching. 

JENNINGS
(Jane Pauley's voice)

The third millennium is less than a month away.  

ST. PETER'S SQUARE 

A YOUNG MAN IN THE CROWD 
 

YOUNG MAN

(pointing up, excited)
Is that smoke? White smoke?
 

The crowd gazes up. The young man busies himself, picking pockets with both hands. 

A phalanx of motorcycles leads a stretch limo on to the Vatican grounds. Its side is emblazoned with the papal crest. The press surges after it. The car pulls up to the papal palace. CARDINAL ANTHONY FALCONARI, papal secretary of state, and his aide, MONSIGNOR RATIGAN, emerge. They push through the crowd and up the stairs. The media close in on their prey. 
 

REPORTERS

Your Eminence! Your Eminence! When will we have a new pope?
 

Falconari stops at the top of the steps, turns and looks down on his pursuers. He stands erect, rigid actually in his crimson robe. He has been playing a cardinal for 25 years. He plays it well. He raises one hand slightly and waits.  

FALCONARI

Soon. Soon. The cardinals are back in conclave. 
Pray for them. 

ANOTHER REPORTER

It's been four months. 

FALCONARI

The Holy Spirit works in his own time. 

ANOTHER REPORTER

Cardinal Falconari. There's are rumors that  delay is caused by financial crisis in the  Church.  

FALCONARI pretends not to hear. He strides into the building, crimson cape flowing.  

DAN RATHER

...Rumors run rampant in this Vatican City.

BROKAW

...Insiders say three of the top contenders have withdrawn their names from consideration.

  RATHER

...Poor health is the reason given. Rumor has it that the financial problems the new pontiff will have to face is the real reason.  

INT. VATICAN FOYER AND HALLWAYS 

Falconari strides along. Ratigan keeps pace. MONSIGNOR CHARLES THOREAU, Vatican press officer, swings out of his office and hurries to catch up. He's 45, Madison Avenue in a cassock. They exchange "good mornings."  
 

FALCONARI

When will we have a pope? When? I wish  I knew.  

Ratigan shrugs.  

FALCONARI (CONT'D)

This should have been my time. I've
served under two popes. But no. Not now...  

Ratigan nods, "Yes."

THOREAU

The press knows we've got a problem, Your
Eminence. They can smell it. 

FALCONARI

Get them off our backs, Thoreau. You're
the press officer. Issue a statement.  

Thoreau looks at him.  

FALCONARI (CONT'D)

Take somebody to lunch. Isn't that what  you do? 

THOREAU

And what do I say? "Funny thing, nobody 
wants to be pope."  

Falconari charges down the hallway, gesturing angrily. 

FALCONARI

There's much at stake. These are crucial decisions we're confronted with.  

INTERIOR VATICAN – LATER 

TWO SWISS GUARDS stand alongside a heavy door. A sign on the door: "SACRED COLLEGE OF CARDINALS" 

INT. CARDINALS CONCLAVE – 

We're inside a CHAMBER with 120 CARDINALS.

ON CARDINAL MARTINEZ 

He stands with a folder, a pencil. He leans into another cardinal. 
 

CARDINAL MARTINEZ
(exasperated)

You've got to decide something. Make up  your mind.

CARDINAL 2

Okay. Okay.  

He hands the menu in.  

CARDINAL MARTINEZ
(writing)

All right, that's forty five orders of  dumplings. Thirty orders of chicken salad.  

He turns to a third cardinal.  

CARDINAL 1

Your eminence?  

No answer. He's engrossed in a book.  

CARDINAL MARTINEZ

Your Eminence!
(louder)
Cardinal Kalophski
 

CARDINAL KALOPHSKI continues reading his book. We see the book's logo, a stylized Celtic picture of a flying bird and the title: 

"THE FLYING GOOSE NEVER LOOKS BACK" BY FATHER PATRICK 
 

MARTINEZ

Karl! 

CARDINAL KALOPHSKI
(looking up)

Anything. A double cheeseburger, French  fries… and a Diet Coke.  

Karl turns to CARDINAL ISHIHARA who is reading the same book – in Japanese, Karl points to a page. Ishihara flips to it. They laugh. Ishihara turns to ANOTHER CARDINAL, who's reading an Arabic edition. He points to the page. OTHERS lean over. They each have copies of the book in their own language. They laugh and nod their approval. 

A FEW HOURS LATER 

Several Cardinals are either meditating or napping. Many are still reading "THE FLYING GOOSE." Next to Cardinal Falconari is ERNESTO CARDINAL GANELLI. He's stuffing his face with pastry. Falconari leans in.
 

FALCONARI

This isn't a book club. All they've done  for weeks is read and re-read that book.  

GANNELLI gulps the final bite of pastry and wipes his fingers on his cassock. He tries to swallow.  

GANNELLI

I know, Your Eminence. It's frustrating,  discouraging actually.  

He hustles to stuff papers into his briefcase. A copy of the Goose Book clatters to the floor. Falconari glares at him. 

GANNELLI
(babbling)

I'm only reading it out of curiosity… to  see what all the fuss is about. Everybody's reading it. It's a best  seller. 

FALCONARI
(coldly)

I don't want a book review, Gannelli. I  want a pope. 

GANNELLI

Father Patrick gives a spin to modern  theology. Listen. "How can you look at an artichoke and not believe in God?"  

Falconari just half listens.  

FAlCONARI

The media are getting too nosey. I don't want to have to tell them that nobody  wants the job because we're facing financial ruin and scandal.  

Snatches an Abba-Zabba bar out of his briefcase. 

FALCONARI (CONT'D)

Maybe you'd like to tell them that? 

GANELLI

No, no...

FALCONARI

Well, Cardinal Ganelli, as Vatican treasurer, it seems that would be your  responsibility. 

GANELLI

You're right. We have to find somebody  fast. 

FALCONARI

Tonight in my office. I want every member of the nominating committee… But  first …
(takes Ganelli's book)  

CONTINUED:  

We're getting every copy of this book out of this conclave.  

ON STACKS OF "THE WILD GOOSE NEVER LOOKS BACK"

Half a dozen cardinals are seated around the table. Monsignor Thoreau stands behind Falconari's chair. The committee is studying 8x10 glossies of candidates. It's a Hollywood casting session.  
 

FALCONARI

(taking glossy from his briefcase)
Aldo Cardinal Baccaloni.  

They all look at him.  

CARDINAL MARTINEZ

He's so old! He's losing it. 

GANELLI

Past tense. He's lost it. 

FALCONARI

Aldo Baccaloni buys us time. A little time.
We can handle him. He's very devout. We tell him it's God's will, he won't dare say "no." 

ISHIHARA

Well, he does look holy!
 

They pass the glossy around. 

THOREAU

You want "holy?" Take a look at this guy.  

He hold up the book. Points to author's picture.

PHOTOGRAPH OF FATHER PATRICK 

A very ascetic looking monk, heavily bearded. His cowl shrouds his face. He could be 70. He stands amidst a flock of sheep. 
 

THOREAU

Put a bird on his shoulder and you've got St.Francis.  

Falconari snatches the book out of Thoreau's hand and tosses it back on the pile.  

ISHIHARA

He's not even a cardinal. 

THOREAU

We've had a lot of popes who weren't  cardinals. 
(leaning into Falconari)
You want to get the media off our fannies?
Give "em a big story. 

FALCONARI

Monsignor, we don't have time. 

THOREAU

We want somebody who's not going to give us any trouble, right?  

Falconari gestures dismissively.  

THOREAU (CONT'D)

This Father Patrick has been holed up in an Irish monastery for God-knows-how many years. He's clueless! 

FALCONARI

We're not electing some Irish monk! 

THOREAU

He's not Irish. He's American, from Erie, Pennsylvania.  

Falconari glares at him.  

FALCONARI

We're not electing some American monk. 

GANELLI

America,that's where the big bucks are. 

FALCONARI

This is the same man who told us the big bucks were in derivatives. 

GANELLI
One little mistake. Who knew the yen was
going to tank?  

Falconari takes the picture.  

FALCONARI

Aldo Cardinal Baccaloni is our man. He 
won't give us any trouble.  

Thoreau and Ganelli have lost.  

GANELLI

He's not going to get us a plugged nickel from the Americans. 

FALCONARI
(to Ganelli)

Ernesto, you were Cardinal Baccaloni's 
student in the seminary. You have the 
honor of telling him.  

INT. VATICAN CORRIDOR – DAY 

Falconari, Thoreau and Ratigan walk along a wide corridor. 

FALCONARI

We just congratulate him, pledge our 
loyalty and ask for his blessing.
 

Cardinal Ganelli exits a room and walks toward them. 

FALCONARI

Did you tell him? 

GANELLI

I told him. 

THOREAU

How'd he take it? 

GANELLI

Not well.  

The door re-opens. TWO MEDICS wheel a gurney past the group.
A sheet covers the body. A red cap rests on the sheet covering the body. They look at Ganelli. He shrugs.  
 

FALCONARI

Baccaloni? 

GANELLI

Baccaloni. 

THOREAU

And that leaves Father Patrick. 

FALCONARI
(cynically)

If you think you can sell your Father
Patrick to the Sacred College of Cardinals, good luck!
 

INT. CONCLAVE OF CARDINALS 

Falconari glares across the room as Ganelli shows the picture on the Goose Book to a cardinal and whispers in his ear. Martinez and Ishihara do the same. The cardinals look up incredulously. They whisper to three others. Those three whisper to three others… etc. etc. Father Patrick's picture is passed around. There are cries of “Yes, yes!" "Si!" "Oui" etc. Applause breaks out. Congratulations are exchanged. Falconari is stunned. 

EXT. ST. PETER'S SQUARE – DAY 

A white puff of smoke rises. The crowd cheers. 
 

CROWD

(various languages)
We have a pope! We have a pope!
A pope! Viva il papa!  

We move in on the puff of smoke. 

EXT/ WHITE FOG – 

The fog lifts revealing a distant hill-top abbey in the Irish countryside. A monk stands at the bottom of the hill. His back is to us. Sheep graze nearby. FATHER PATRICK stops and looks up the crest of the hill. 

FR. PATRICKS POINT OF VIEW 

A little red cap appears over the crest of the hill, then another and another. Under each cap is a red robe. An army of cardinals swarms over the crest of the hill. They walk toward him. 

ON LINE OF CARDINALS
They approach. They kneel and say something. The monk crumples in a faint. The cardinals pick him up and, in an orderly procession, carry him off over the hill. 

EXT. THE ABBEY – 

Father Patrick stumbles toward a line of limousines. His hair and beard are very long. He carries a small duffel bag. In a daze, he waves goodbye. A DOZEN OTHER MONKS look on, dumbfounded. Father Patrick hugs an old monk, MICHAEL FITZGERALD. Patrick gets in the limo and looks out the rear window as the abbey recedes. FITZGERALD gazes dumb struck after the disappearing cars. 

EXT. PAPAL JET PLANE IN FLIGHT 

In each window we see a little red beret. In the last window, we see white – the face of Father Patrick staring out. 

EXT. ROME AIRPORT – NIGHT 

The plane lands. 

EXT. ROME STREETS – NIGHT 

The papal caravan winds through the city.

INT. PAPAL LIMOUSINE 

Patrick stares in awe at the sights of Rome.

EXT. VATICAN – NIGHT 

The limousine pulls up to the papal palace. The cheering mob crowds in. The media and the paparazzi surge forward with microphones and cameras. Father Patrick steps out of the car into blinding light and chaos. He still wears the robes of a simple monk. FALCONARI steps forward as others hustle him into the building. Patrick stops,smiles uncertainly, and gives a hesitant "two thumbs up." 
 

FALCONARI

Please. Please. The new pontiff has had a grueling trip. Tomorrow, after the installation, he'll have a few words. Thank you. Thank you.
 

The media push forward, but Patrick is gone.

INT. NEW YORK NETWORK NEWS STUDIO 

ON JANE PAULEY 
 

PAULEY

Tomorrow he will be the leader of the largest congregation in the world.  

ON ROBERT HAGGER  

HAGGER

Some researchers believe that the last pope elevated from the ranks of a simple priest was Peter or Morrone...  

ON LYNN SCHEERER  

SCHEERER

...who was taken from his hermitage and crowned Pope Celestine the Fifth. That was in 1294.
 

INT. POPE'S PRIVATE QUARTERS – NIGHT
The rooms are palatial, ornate and dreary. The walls are covered with dark religious paintings and faded tapestries.
This I a palace from ages past. Papal robes are hung on stands. Patrick gazes around as he's led across the room by the Vatican hierarchy. He's totally overwhelmed. 

FALCONARI
(pointing everything out)

These are your private quarters.  

They move through a set of double doors.  

FALCONARI (CONT'D)

And this is one of your reception areas. 
John the Twenty Third's favorite.

THOREAU

You'll meet heads of state here. President Kennedy sat on that couch.  

Patrick studies a particularly gloomy portrait. 

FALCONARI

(reverentially)
Fourteenth century. St. John the Apostle. 

PATRICK

How can you tell?
 

Falconari just looks at him.  

THOREAU

Any questions, Holy Father? 

PATRICK

Just one...  

Patrick walks around the room. He touches things. 

PATRICK (CONT'D)

Why me? 

FALCONARI

It was the will of the Holy Spirit. 

PATRICK

But I don't know how to be pope. 

FALCONARI

The Holy Spirit will guide you, as he 
guided the cardinals who elected you. 
Trust him. And, trust us.
 

Thoreau hands Patrick a few stapled papers. 
 

THOREAU

Here's the schedule for tomorrow's 
investiture. 

PATRICK

(panicked)
Tomorrow? 

FALCONARI

The world is anxious to see its new pope. 

THOREAU

We've actually delayed it a few hours, 
Holy Father
 

Patrick looks at him. 
 

THOREAU (CONT'D)

So we can go live on the "Today Show,"
DISSOLVE
 

Int. POPE;S QUARTERS – 

ON A JEWEL CASE CONTAINING SEVERAL CROSSES

A hand picks one up. 
 

GANELLI (VOICE OVER)

This was first worn by Pope Clement the Ninth.
 

Ganelli hands the cross to Patrick.
 
 

PATRICK

These are diamonds. 

GANELLI

And sapphires.
 

Patrick drops the piece back in the box,  

PATRICK

I couldn't wear that. 

FALCONARI

It's tradition. It's a symbol of the
office. It's like your shepherd's staff.
 

FALCONARI hands the shepherd's staff to the pontiff. Patrick checks it for balance and breaks into a fancy twirling routine, The others look on in surprise. 

PATRICK

That was my last job … herding sheep,
 

He leans the staff against the wall. 

PATRICK (CONT'D)

Ah, I don't think I could carry this. 

GANELLI

But, it's the historic sign of the papacy. 

PATRICK

Yeah, but people really aren't sheep, are they?
 

They do not answer.  

PATRICK

And do you have to call me "Holy Father?" 

THOREAU

After tomorrow, you will be "His Holiness, Pope Gregory the Seventeenth." 

FALCONARI

The synod thought it appropriate. Gregory Sixteenth was pope, in 1999, before the Second  Millennium. 

PATRICK

I thought I go with my own name. If that's all  right.
 

They exchange glances.  

FALCONARI

Of course, "Patrick." "Pope Patrick." We've n  never had a Pope Patrick. 

PATRICK

No. "Father Patrick" is my pen name. My real name is "Jack." 

GANELLI

Oh, Pope John the
(he thinks)
...Twenty-fourth? 

PATRICK

No. Not John. "Jack." 

FALCONARI

"Jack?" 

PATRICK

Jack Cleary. That's my real name. 

GANELLI

"Pope Jack The First?"
 

Jack smiles. The group is speechless. 

PATRICK

Well, good night.  

EXT. VATICAN HALLWAY 

Falconari is in shock. 
 

FALCONARI
"Pope Jack!" 

THOREAU
Well, you have to admit, it is very
… ah, American.
 

INT. POPE'S PRIVATE QUARTERS – 

Jack has put on the papal robe. He poses in front of a mirror. He gets into it. He twirls. Does a little dance.
He walks to the end of the room and opens a door. 

INT. CHAPEL – NIGHT 

Jack enters, looks at the altar, statues, etc. He walks to a kneeler, kneels down. He looks up at the altar.  

JACK

No disrespect. But I hope you know what
you're doing.
 

EXT. ST. PETER'S SQUARE – DAY 

REGIS AND KATHY LEE are fifty feet or so above the procession route. It's the Rose Parade set up. And they do pre-Rose Parade commentary.  
 

REGIS

It's a perfect day. 

KATHY

It's clear and cool. Crisp actually. 

REGIS

Not too crisp. It's perfect. Perfect,
What a day for a coronation!
 

INT. FOYER OUTSIDE POPE'S PRIVATE QUARTERS

Cardinals and  Swiss guards mill about. Falconari checks his watch. Thoreau snaps his cell phone shut. 
 

THOREAU

Americans are glued to their sets.
Neilsen is predicting a seventy share! 

FALCONARI
There won't be a coronation if that 
barber doesn't hurry it up.

The barber hurries out. He's old and nervous.

BARBER

Don't blame me, Your Eminence. It's not my fault! It's not my fault!  

He rushes off. A rear view of Pope Jack, in white robes as he appears in the doorway. 

POPE JACK'S POV 

The stunned reactions of cardinals, clergy and guards.

ON POPE JACK THE FIRST 

He looks 30 years younger without the beard and long hair. He's handsome, in his early forties. 
 

JACK

Ready when you are.  

INT. A BROADCAST BOOTH 

Regis fiddles with his ear piece. 
 

REGIS

We've been told that the procession 
has begun across St. Peter's Square.
And I think I can hear the trumpets.  

ON THE PROCESSION 

KATHY LEE

...the new pope has requested that
Celtic music be played. 

REGIS

We should be able to see them any minute.
Can you see anything, Kathy Lee?  

She cranes to look.  

KATHY LEE

They're just coming into view. Yes, it is.
It's the Franciscans leading the procession. 

REGIS (V.O.)

Eighty or ninety Franciscans. What a sight.  

INT. BROADCAST BOOTH –  

REGIS

And here come my men, the Jesuits. Regis is a famous Jesuit name. Did you know that,  Kathy? 

KATHY LEE

(controlled)
I must have heard that a dozen or so times, Reege.  

ON PROCESSION 

REGIS (V.O)

And here come the cardinals in their red, followed by...  here he is, the one we've been waiting for...
(very excited)
Pope Jack The First... My God! He's a kid! 

KATHY (V.O.)

What's he doing? He is... tipping his hat to the crowd. 

REGIS (V.O.)

I've seen Notre Dame quarterbacks that look older.  

ON JACK'S WHITE ROBE – 

Everything blurs. 

A BLUR OF WHITE 

SKIER'S POV 

Snow flies. Schussing down a world class run.

ON SKIS, BOOTS, FEMALE LEGS 

Twisting, turning, jumping. 

ON THE SKIER'S FACE 

Mid-thirties, female, beautiful, athletic, determined. After a beat, we realize that the skier's goggles are not traditional ski wear. They are virtual reality goggles. We're in a gym. ANN MACKENZIE is on a ski machine. The treadmill beneath her feet slants and yaws and pitches. 

Ann flips up the goggles and switches off the machine. She glances up at the wall clock. 

ON CLOCK: 7 A.M. 

Ann rushes out with a wave to other skiers and exercisers.
  

ANN

Have to rush. Another humongous day
ahead.  

She dashes out. 

INT. ST. PETER'S/PAPAL PROCESSION 

The papal procession ascends the altar. The cardinals and the new pope assume their places. 

REVEAL TV SET  
 

MATT LAUER (V.O.)

Pope Jack The First has just ascended
the altar of St. Peter's for the first
time. 

KATHY COURIC

One of many firsts. It is also the first
time the new pope has ever been in St.  Peter's.  

We're in... 

A HEALTH CLUB LOCKER ROOM/LOUNGE AREA – MORNING

Women in sweats and towels huddle around the TV watching the Today Show's telecast of the papal ceremonies. Ann dashes by from the shower without glancing. 

EXT. NEW YORK STREETS 

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS EVERYWHERE 

Ann tries frantically to get a cab. The city is at a standstill. Gridlock. Crowds watch portable TV's and monitors in store windows. Images of the coronation circle the Times' Building. Ann dashes along the streets. We catch glimpses of the ceremony on TV monitors. 

ON TV MONITOR 

We SEE the interior of St. Peter's.
 

MATT LAUER (V.O.)

The high point of this ceremony will be
the crowning of Pope Jack The First by the senior Cardinal Deacon, Anthony Cardinal Falconari. 

ON JACK AND ANN 

as he is crowned  
 

COURIC (V.O.)

The world has a new pope, Pope Jack The First,  the Supreme Pontiff, Bishop of  Rome and head of the college of bishops.

LAUER

So, the first American pope, a man from Erie, Pennsylvania, Jesuit educated, Peace Corps volunteer, a priest out of an Irish abbey, has  been crowned Pope Jack The First.  

EXT. DAZZLING NEW YORK SKYSCRAPER – MORNING

Ann Mackenzie hurries along the street. She charges past a STREET PERSON with his cup out. Ann passes him. She stops. She mutters to herself and dashes back and gives him a bill. She rushes into the building. 

INT. LOBBY OFFICE BUILDING – DAY 

Ann sails in. A couple of GUARDS and a DELIVERY BOY are watching TV. 
 

GUARD

An American pope. Have you seen him, Miss Mackenzie?  

Ann hurries to the elevator.  

ANN

I haven't had time, Ralph.
(she presses the elevator button)
I've got to be in court today. 

DELIVERY LADY

I might convert for this babe. We're talking world class cute here.  

INT. VATICAN CORRIDOR 

The new pope, still in shock, is surrounded by a red sea of cardinals and other clerics.  
 

FALCONARI

Your Holiness, the people are waiting. 

JACK

What do I do? 

FALCONERI

Wave, just wave.
 

He ushers Jack out on to the balcony. 

EXT. ST.PETER'S SQUARE – DAY 

ON BALCONY 

Jack walks out on to the balcony. He waves.

ON ST. PETER'S SQUARE 

People below cheer. 

ON BALCONY 
 

JACK

They're so far away. Why don't I go
down there? 

FALCONARI

Just wave.  

Jack continues to wave. He's enjoying himself.

INT. ANN'S LAW FIRM/HALLWAY
The name on the door reads: WILLETT, BODINE, SHAEFFER AND MACKENZIE, ATTORNEYS AT LAW. She beeps the door and enters. 

INT. A CORNER "POWER" OFFICE – DAY 

The bank of windows looks out on New York City from what is at least the 23d floor. A CLEANING LADY, her vacuum idle, sits in a chair gaping at the TV. Ann charges in. The cleaning lady is flustered. 
 

CLEANING LADY

El Papa. 

ANN

(in Spanish)
It's okay, Maria. Sit down. Watch your pope.  

Ann glances at the monitor. St. Peter's Square is jammed.

ANN'S POV  
 

COMMENTATOR (V.O.)

And so the new pope, Jack The First, is
being cheered by the crowds.
 

ON DISTANT FIGURE ON THE PAPAL BALCONY 

Ann pauses to watch. 

He waves to the crowd. His hat falls off. He holds it and laughs.

INT. ANN'S OFFICE 

Ann reels back and collapses into a chair. She points at the monitor, speechless. 
 

CLEANING LADY

Si, El Papa. El Papa. 

ANN

(gasping)
He can't be the pope. That's my husband!

 


And of course he is. And that is the dilemma and the story. Gradually, we learn that Jack and Ann are each sure that the other is dead… killed in a Central American uprising. Without telling anyone her secret, Ann flies to Rome. She wants her husband back. Now the pope too has a secret… and a dilemma that is unique in the history of the modern papacy.

 The film is a love story unlike any other… a romantic comedy set in the Vatican.  

The premise is simple. The pope has a wife no one knows about. What does he do? What would you do?

 

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Robert Blair Kaiser

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Webpage Editor: 
Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D.
ecumene.org
Posted 11 August 2002
Last revised 13 December 2002