Make the Pope a saint, says Elton

Sir Elton John has called Pope Francis his "hero" and called for him to be canonised for his efforts to get gay people accepted within the Catholic church.

At the singer's annual Aids gala benefit in New York on Tuesday, he praised the Pope for pushing the boundaries of the church, and said "Make this man a saint now!"

Despite Pope Francis's attempts to make the church more welcoming to gay people and understanding of their lifestyles, Catholic bishops vetoed a more accepting approach earlier this month.

"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," John told his audience.

"He is a compassionate, loving man who wants everybody to be included in the love of God," he added "It is formidable what he is trying to do against many, many people in the church that oppose him. He is courageous and he is fearless, and that's what we need in the world today."

In an interview with CBS News at the gala, John also urged the gay community not to regard Aids as a problem of the past.

"It's important that gay people step up to the plate, acknowledge that, and wise up a little bit," he said.

"I want the gay population to realise that sacrifices were made before the medicines were available.
"They're not used to, the current generation of HIV people, seeing them die and keel over, and I did. And I don't want those people to be forgotten."