Elton John called Pope Francis "my hero" for his compassion and push to accept gay people by the Roman Catholic Church, at his annual Aids benefit.
John hosted the event, An Enduring Vision: A Benefit for the Elton John Aids Foundation, last night in New York City. He said Francis was pushing boundaries in the Church and told the crowd: “Make this man a saint now, OK?”
“Ten years ago, one of the biggest obstacles in the fight against Aids was the Catholic Church. Today we have a pope that speaks out about it,” said John, earning cheers from attendees at Cipraini’s on Wall Street. Catholic bishops scrapped a proposed landmark welcome to gay people earlier this month, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Francis to chart a more relevant approach to ministering to Catholic families.
An earlier draft offered a tone of acceptance, but that was stripped away after bishops failed to reach consensus on a diluted section on ministering to homosexuals.
“He is a compassionate, loving man who wants everybody to be included in the love of God,” John said of the Pope. “It is formidable what he is trying to do against many, many people in the Church. He is courageous and he is fearless, and that’s what we need in the world today.”
John, who wrote an op-ed for New York Times on Tuesday, also honoured New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his plan to end the Aids epidemic in his state by 2020.
“Good evening to all of you, the queen of England,” Cuomo said as the crowd laughed.
“I’m from Queens, but I think there’s a different interpretation there.”