Dennis Rodman — fresh from his basketball summit in North Korea — is now setting his sights on fixing those pesky problems plaguing the Catholic Church … because he’s jetting to Rome today in hopes of meeting the new Pope.

Rodman tells TMZ … his “people” in Rome have been in touch with the mucky muck’s at the Vatican and they’re trying to arrange a sit-down with the next person to don the big funny hat.

Rodman — who wants to be there when the white smoke fills the air — is gambling just a bit, because the Cardinals are voting today and Rodman won’t land until late tonight.  But our top Catholic source — Shevonne — tells us … it’s unlikely anyone will get the nod on the first vote.

– Reported by TMZ