Jorge Mario Bergoglio Elected New Leader of World's 1.2 Billion Catholics

Dennis Rodman Arrives in Rome to "Support the Cause"

Fresh from a trip to North Korea, the Worm lands in Rome

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013  |  Updated 2:33 PM EDT
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    "I'm just here to support the cause of the Church," Dennis Rodman tells reporters, "because I think the Church needs some revamping." The former NBA star arrived in Rome Wednesday. As for which cardinal could become pope, he says "the one from Ghana, he's gonna win."
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    Dennis Rodman, fresh off a trip to North Korea, landed in Rome on Wednesday.

    The former Chicago Bulls star known as "The Worm" showed up at St. Peter's Square to campaign for Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson to become the first black pope.

    Dressed in a multi-color, flower-print blazer and yellow Converse shoes, Rodman told the media he doesn't have a favorite cardinal to become pope but said "the one from Ghana, he's gonna win."

    "I'm just here to support the cause of the Church," Rodman said, "because I think the Church needs some revamping."

    To prove his point, Rodman plans to return with a makeshift popemobile later in the day.

    The campaign won't be heard by the 115 cardinals, who walked into the Sistine Chapel Tuesday to begin their secret meeting to choose a new pope. As of Wednesday morning, black smoke from the papal chimney signaled that no pope had been chosen.

    This isn't the first of Rodman's recent worldly travels. He flew to North Korea last month and met authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un where the two watched basketball together and apparently foraged a friendship. Kim Jong Un told him, "You have a friend for life."

    Upon his return home, Rodman told reporters Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung "were great leaders" and had only kind words about Kim Jong Un.

    "He's proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him," Rodman said. "Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome."

    The two apparently plan on keeping in touch.

    Rodman says he is vacationing with the leader in North Korea in August.

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