(ROME) -- The next stop on Dennis Rodman’s mission to save the world is Vatican City.
After his diplomatic mission of peace through basketball in North Korea, Rodman has now taken his efforts to Italy in the hopes of aiding the Catholic Church in fixing the problems and scandals that have plagued its hierarchy.
On Tuesday, Rodman was en route to Rome with the goal of meeting the Catholic Church’s next pope on the same day that the cardinals met for the papal conclave behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel.
While it may be some time before white smoke billows out of the chapel’s chimney signaling the election of a new pope, Rodman told TMZ that his experience with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would prove he was worthy of at least a meeting with the pontiff-elect.
The former Chicago Bulls power forward told TMZ that his “people” were in contact with the powers that be at the Vatican to arrange a meeting between Rodman and the pope’s successor. Rodman is expected to arrive late Tuesday evening.
During his visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Rodman met with Kim, a fan of Rodman and the Chicago Bulls. "He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him,” Rodman told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week.
“I want to be anywhere in the world that I’m needed,” Rodman told TMZ. “I want to spread a message of peace and love throughout the world.”
Claiming that he broke barriers in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that no one else could, Rodman told TMZ that he could be the person to develop a plan of peace for the new pontiff.
While the U.S. State Department declined to debrief Rodman after his visit to Pyongyang, the next pope may choose to listen to what the basketball diplomat has to say.
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