Elton John calls Pope Francis a “hero” for LGBT outreach

Charles Sykes/Invision/APElton John performs at the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 13th Annual "An Enduring Vision" benefit at Cipriani's Wall Street on Tuesday

Elton John called Pope Francis “my hero” for his compassion and push to accept gays in the Catholic Church at his annual AIDS benefit.

He said Francis is pushing boundaries in the church and told the crowd: “Make this man a saint now, OK?”

The event, “An Enduring Vision: A Benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation” on Tuesday night in New York, raised $3.7 million.

“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 said, earning cheers.

Catholic bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays this month, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families. An earlier draft of the document offered a welcoming tone of acceptance, but it was stripped away after the bishops failed to reach a consensus on a watered-down 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 that opposes. He is courageous and he is fearless, and that's what we need in the world today.”

Event attendees included John's husband, David Furnish, as well as Neil Patrick Harris, Alec Baldwin, Matt Lauer and host Anderson Cooper. A lunch date with newsmen was part of the auction, dubbed the “great anchor sandwich,” and it sold for $45,000.

“I will give a little extra with dessert if you know what I mean,” Cooper said at the top of the event. “It could be a long, saucy lunch.”

QUICK TAKES

Jennifer Lawrence broke up with pseudo-rocker Chris Martin because the Coldplay singer's relationship with his ex Gwyneth Paltrow was a “little too close for comfort,” a source told People magazine. … Wrestler Billy Jack Haynes has filed a lawsuit claiming he contracted hepatitis C in a bloody match for Vince McMahon's WWE back in the 1980s. Haynes also claims the WWE, formerly known as the WWF, didn't warn performers about the dangers of steroids or concussions. … Justin Bieber doesn't aspire to become a professional cage-match fighter, his publicist says, despite Star magazine's baffling new report.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Giants second baseman Joe Panik is 25. … Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro is 39. … Actress Nia Long (“The Single Moms Club”) is 44. … Actor Jack Plotnick (“Reno 911!”) is 46. … Actor Harry Hamlin (“L.A. Law”) is 63. … Actor Henry Winkler (“Arrested Development”) is 69. … Singer Otis Williams of The Temptations is 73. … Singer Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane is 75. — Staff, wire report

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

Just Posted

Thirsty students can fill up at SF schools

Revenue from a tax on soda and sugary beverages approved by San… Continue reading

Grieving mother fears for family’s safety as community of slain teen works to heal

Wearing necklaces with laminated photos of Day’von Hann over their hearts, friends… Continue reading

SFPD to hold LGTBQ ‘reconciliation and recognition’ night at Glide Memorial

Police hope to acknowledge hateful history, build trust

Vaping proponents sue SF over language for November ballot measure

Proponents for a measure backed by E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. that… Continue reading

Presidential candidates, national leaders make their case at DNC meeting in San Francisco

Factions of the Democratic Party and the broader progressive political movement faced… Continue reading

Most Read