He is fully aware of the corruption in the Vatican Bank, but is not a participant in the crimes. Despite his knowledge, the Pope did nothing in his power to stop this. Reasons could have been that Paul considered the matter to be of low rank in his papal responsibilities, or that his health was failing, limiting his stamina in the papacy.
His ill health allowed Frederick Keinszig and Archbishop Gilday to continue their double-dealings with Michael Corleone. Eventually a news broadcast is shown that the Pope died after dealing with his ailments for a long time. When he died, he was succeeded as pope by John Paul I.
Behind the scenes
He is based on the actual Giovanni Montini, the pope preceding John Paul I. The film shows Pope Paul VI dying in 1980, where in actuality he passed away in 1978, also known as the "Year of the Three Popes".
Notes and references
John Paul I