Elton John calls Pope Francis “my hero.”

Billboard reports that at Tuesday night’s An Enduring Vision benefit in New York, he told the crowd that the Pontiff has taken a stand for embracing tolerance and compassion in several recent opinions. “What are we waiting for?

Make him a saint now. [By declaring], ‘Who am I to judge?,’ he did more with those five words than the last five Popes.”

Elton said the AIDS epidemic still demands attention.

“The main obstacle is not a virus, the main obstacle is people, people who continue to discriminate and marginalize people with HIV… What I’ve learned from fighting AIDS for the past 22 years is the people who need the most compassion are the ones who receive the least.”

 

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