William Eden (the sin eater) is looking for a successor and asks Alex to become the next sin eater. Alex says no and Eden kills Mara making it look like she killed herself and he reveals that he and Dominic paved the way for Alex to become the next sin eater ever since Alex was young. Alex finds Mara dying in Dominic's house and next to her is Eden's bag with the little wooden cross (and other sin eater ritual tools). He performs the sin eating ritual and absorbs Mara's sins. Thomas visits the mysterious black robed figure who reveals himself to be Cardinal Driscoll; he reveals that he took the sin eater dagger from the Vatican (that's where it was after Eden had lost it) and made a deal with William Eden: he'll give Eden the dagger and Eden will make sure that Driscoll has enough votes to become the next pope. Thomas visits the mysterious figure (Driscoll) because he wants to read the missing half of the scroll and he discovers something very important; as he is about to run off and tell Alex, Driscoll's followers seize him. Alex visits Driscoll because he wants to know where the sin eater is and Driscoll says "go to the place where it all began" (St. Peter's Basilica). Alex saves Thomas from being hanged but Thomas doesn't reveal the important piece of information. Alex goes to St. Peter's (Thomas follows) and there he finds Eden. Alex stabs Eden with the dagger, angry about what he did to Mara. As Alex stabs Eden, Thomas has just arrived and it's too late... what Thomas found out by reading the scroll was that the dagger is NOT for killing a sin eater but it's for becoming a sin eater. Eden dies and Alex becomes the next sin eater; Thomas takes the dagger and says "I'll find a way to help you, Alex.. even if it's necessary to kill you." Some time later, Alex visits Driscoll, who has called the sin eater and wants his sins taken away. Realizing that the sin eater is now Alex he correctly deduces that it was Alex who told the church about Driscoll's deal with Eden and scheme to become pope resulting in Driscoll's excommunication. Driscoll cuts his wrists and is dying and Alex delibaretly doesn't finish the sin eating ritual to get even because Driscoll was somewhat involved with Mara's death. Driscoll eats his own sins and the final scene is Alex in a voice over saying that now he has the power to decide who goes is forgiven, who is damned, who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell...
Deliberate mistake: There is one scene in the movie where Heath Ledger reads a Latin sentence in a book. As he is translating the sentence, he goes over the words one by one with his finger. This would never be possible in a Latin sentence, because words in Latin are never - I repeat: never - in exactly the same order as in English. Words that actually belong together can be placed on opposite ends of a sentence.
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