Madonna gives Pope Francis her blessing

First it was rapper Flavor Flav who had a message for Pope Francis, now Madonna had something to sing about. The 'Material Girl' dedicated her rendition of 'La Vie en Rose' to the Holy Father during a concert in Philadelphia Thursday night.

During the show, Madonna announced that "rules are for fools. That's why I like the new Pope. He seems very open-minded."  

It was just one of many comments about Francis at a concert that featured lots of religious imagery, including female performers wearing nuns' habits — and little else — pole dancing on crosses.

"The pope is stalking me," she said, noting she recently performed in New York, where Francis is until Saturday morning. "Either he's a copycat or he's secretly in love with me."

And then: "I've been excommunicated from the Catholic Church three times. It shows the Vatican really cares," she joked.

"Since Popey-wopey is on his way over here, I want to dedicate this song to him," she said before launching into a heartfelt version of "La Vie en Rose."

Madonna, raised Roman Catholic in Michigan, has a long history of running afoul of the Vatican. Her 1989 video for "Like A Prayer" contained imagery that outraged religious leaders, including stigmata and burning crosses. Her seminal 1990 "Blond Ambition" tour included simulated masturbation and brought condemnation from the Vatican. And in her 2006 "Confessions" tour, she staged a mock crucifixion only a few miles from the Vatican.

The pope heads from New York to Philadelphia on Saturday for the last stop in his historic visit to the United States.