Cardinal Lamberto

Cardinal Lamberto

Cardinal Lamberto is a fictional character appearing in "The Godfather Part III". He is portrayed by Raf Vallone.

Lamberto was a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, and the man favoured to succeed the terminally ill Pope Paul VI as head of the Church. He was visited by Michael Corleone on the advice of Don Tommasino, and Michael told him of his swindle at the hands of Frederick Keinszig, Licio Lucchesi, and Archbishop Gilday. Upon talking with Lamberto, Michael immediately felt a connection with and great affection for him. Lamberto encouraged Michael to confess his sins; Michael was initially reluctant, feeling his sins were too horrific to merit forgiveness by God, but eventually gave in under the Cardinal's gentle prodding. He eventually broke down in tears when confessing that he ordered his brother Fredo to be killed. Upon the conclusion of the confession, Lamberto told Michael that it was just that he suffered, yet still absolved him of all his past wrongdoing.

Upon the death of Paul VI, Lamberto was elected the new Pontiff, as per everyone's expectations; he took the name John Paul I upon his accession to the papacy. A thoroughly honest man, he immediately called for an investigation into the activities of the Vatican Bank and requested a meeting with Keinszig, the Bank's chief accountant. However, Keinszig had left Rome with a large sum of money and several documents. Fearing that their corrupt activities would be exposed, Keinszig, Lucchesi, and Gilday plot to murder the Pope; he is found dead in his bed by a nun at the Vatican, his tea having been poisoned.

Lamberto is based on the real life Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani, who, like Lamberto, died 33 days after his election. In David Yallop's book, In God's Name, Yallop contends that Pope John Paul I was murdered because of his investigations into the Vatican Bank.

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