"I've been excommunicated from the Catholic Church three times," Madonna joked to concertgoers in Philadelphia. "It shows the Vatican cares – deeply."

Credit: Splash News

Madonna has given Pope Francis and his historic U.S. visit a thumbs up. She’s also given the Pontiff a new nickname: Popey-Wopey.

“Since Popey-Wopey is on his way over here, I want to dedicate this song to him,” Madonna said at her Thursday night show in Philadephia, where the Pope will conclude his first American tour on Sunday. She then launched into a heartfelt version of “La Vie en Rose.”

It seemed Francis was on the singer’s mind a lot. “Rules are for fools,” she told the crowd. “That’s why I like the new Pope. He seems very open-minded.”

Madonna also joked that she’s been one step ahead of Pope Francis the whole time. “The pope is stalking me,” she said, since she also recently performed in New York, where Francis is until Saturday morning. “Either he’s a copycat or he’s secretly in love with me.”

The show, part of her Rebel Heart tour, also features religious imagery, including female dancers wearing nuns’ habits and not a lot else, while – wait for it – pole dancing on crosses.

Madonna, who was raised Roman Catholic, has had her share of run-ins with the Vatican. Her video for her 1989 hit “Like A Prayer” featured burning crosses and stigmata and outraged religious leaders. Then, in 1990, her Blond Ambition tour featured simulated masturbation. Finally, in her 2006 Confessions tour, she staged a mock crucifixion just miles away from the Vatican.

“I’ve been excommunicated from the Catholic Church three times,” Madonna joked to the crowd in Philadelphia. “It shows the Vatican cares – deeply.”