Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – How to Get the Pope

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In Hearts of Iron 4, players can go many ways down the possible national focus paths. Most countries can end up in unimaginable situations by just changing their historical path a bit.

One interesting place where you can end up in HOI4 is changing Italy into the Papal States, making the Pope the ruler of the peninsula.

Recommended Read: How to Use Paratroopers in Hearts of Iron 4

This is by far one of the weirdest paths players can take in HOI4, but it can be very entertaining to conquer Europe with the Pope in charge.

In this guide, we will detail all the steps that you will need to take to put the Pope in charge of Italy in Hearts of Iron 4.

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How to Get the Pope in HOI4

Here is how to get the Pope in HOI4 in a few simple steps:

  1. Struggle in Ethiopia Focus
  2. Power to the King Focus
  3. Seek Papal Support Focus
  4. Move the National Balance of Power to 70% for His Holiness.

Now, that is the simplified version of how to get the Pope in power in Hearts of Iron 4.

However, there are a lot of small parts to these steps that you will need to take properly, so we are now going to go into more detail.

Lose the War in Ethiopia

To get the Pope in HOI4, you will need to lose the war with Ethiopia as Italy. You will need to do this to get the Struggle in Ethiopia focus.

Since it will take around half a year to manually unlock this focus, your best bet is to retreat from Ethiopia.

Just select all your troops there and redeploy them away from the front. The Ethiopians will instantly conquer all your African territories, and you will be forced to White Peace.

There is also the option to wait 120 days for the Conquer Northern and Southern Ethiopia missions to fail.

This will allow you to get the focus you need and also conquer Ethiopia. However, if you want to speedrun this and get the Pope before Germany attacks the Allies, it would be a good idea to just retreat from Ethiopia.

This will give you an event where you have to choose whether you want to bypass The Abyssinian Fiasco or the Struggle in Ethiopia focuses. Choose the option that bypasses the Struggle in Ethiopia focus.

Depose Mussolini

Your next step should be increasing the power of the Non-Aligned party and deposing Mussolini.

What you need to do exactly after bypassing the Struggle in Ethiopia focus is to choose the Convene the Grand Council focus.

This is only possible if you completely retreated from Ethiopia. Otherwise, you will have to complete the Undermine the Duce and Conspiracies in the Shadows focuses first.

This will open up a new mechanic where you will have to control who has more power, the Council or Mussolini.

You don’t really care who is more powerful between these two since you want the Pope to rule the country.

What you need to do instantly the moment you finish the Convene the Grand Council focus is to appoint Pietro d’Acquarone as your Political Advisor.

This Political Advisor will increase the influence of the Non-Aligned party indefinitely, so make sure to keep some Political Power to employ him.

You should also start raiding the Democratic party since this will also help increase the power of the Non-Aligned faction.

Your next national focus choice should be Depose Mussolini since the Grand Council should have enough power to do this.

Power to the King

For the next national focus to get the Pope in HOI4, you will need at least 25% support for the Non-Aligned party.

Since you only have influence from that one advisor, you will need to also raid the Democrats and Communists as often as possible.

Until you manage to get to 25% Non-Aligned support to pick the Monarchia d’Italia focus, you can either go through the industrial side of the, or you can try to complete the Conspiracies in the Shadows focus if you decided to retreat from Ethiopia to lower Fascism support in the country.

Once you manage to complete the Monarchia d’Italia focus, things will start to get a lot easier since you will have the Non-Aligned party ruling the country.

You can now raid all of the political parties (Fascist, Democratic, and Communist) to increase the popularity of the Non-Aligned party incredibly fast.

The struggle for power will now be between the Grand Council and Vittorio Emanuele III. Since none of them is the Pope, you should still avoid intervening in this power struggle.

What you need to do now is get 50% support of the Non-Aligned party to unlock the Power to the King HOI4 national focus. Until you manage to get there, you can complete other industrial focuses.

Crowning the Pope

If you look at the right side of the focus tree that we are going down, you can see all of the focuses we now need to pick:

  1. Seek Papal Support
  2. Agents of the Church
  3. Strengthen the Papacy

Completing the Seek Papal Support focus will now change the balance of power mechanics to be between His Holiness and the king.

This is when you will need to start using the struggle decisions to influence who rules the country.

The moment you complete the Seek Papal Support focus, press Q to open the Political screen and press the National Balance of Power button right over the name of your parties.

Here, you will have a lot of decisions that will change the balance of power in the country.

You will need to choose the ones that increase the power of His Holiness. The first one you get is right after you complete the Seek Papal Support focus, Expand the Lateran Treaty.

After you complete the Strengthen the Papacy focus, you will also get a new decision in the National Balance of Power menu called Liturgical Reforms. Instantly use it since it has a 1-year cooldown until you can use it again.

At this point, His Holiness should have at least 60% power in the state.

To get the Pope to rule Italy in HOI4, you will need 70% power for His Holiness. This means that you will now have to wait a whole year to select the Liturgical Reforms decision.

This is the most boring part, as you will just be waiting a year to get the decision again.

Once you use it, you will get over 70% power for His Holiness, and you will get an event called Ascendancy of the Pope, which will crown the Pope as the ruler of Italy.

How to Get the Papal States

The moment you get the Pope to rule Italy in HOI4, you will unlock a new, hidden national focus appearing under Strengthen the Papacy called The Papacy Reborn.

If you complete this focus, the name of Italy will change to the Papal States, and you will have a whole new focus tree branch to complete.

Players should be able to get the Papal States and the Pope in HOI4 by 1940 with ease, allowing them to participate in the Second World War as a totally new country.

One of the next focuses will allow you to demand Palestine from the United Kingdom. If the war has started, they are very likely to give it to you for free.

Another focus will give you puppet war goals on all of the countries in Europe that are not majority Catholic. This includes the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the USSR.

The Papal States part of the national focus tree is very powerful, as you get bonuses such as:

  • +500 Weekly Manpower
  • +5% Attack
  • +10% Factory Output
  • +10% Recruitable Population
  • +5% Political Power Gain

That’s everything you need to know about how to get the Pope in Hearts of Iron 4!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

Adrian Oprea

Based in London, United Kingdom, Adrian Oprea is a Guides Writer. As a professional single-player RPG player, Adrian has often been stigmatized. He has decided to pour his frustration into writing guides!

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