MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) — Pop legend Elton John called Pope Francis his “hero”, praising the pontiff for his efforts to initiate Church reforms that would result in more tolerance for victims of AIDS, the Independent reported.
“He is a compassionate, loving man who wants everybody to be included in the love of God,” Sir Elton told concertgoers at an AIDS fundraiser concert held in New York City on Tuesday night. The benefit concert, which was held for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, was attended by Hollywood stars and politicians.
Commenting on the Pope’s fight against conservatism in the Catholic Church, which he said was “one of the biggest obstacles in the fight against AIDS,” Sir Elton called the Pope “courageous” and “fearless, and that’s what we need in the world today.” “Make him a saint already, ok?,” the singer playfully added.
Sir Elton’s tribute to Pope Francis comes a day after the Pope gave a groundbreaking speech at the Vatican, where he recognized the scientific merit of Darwin’s theory of evolution, along with the Big Bang theory.
In his remarks Monday at the plenary assembly of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Francis said that "when we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so. He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment," MSNBC quoted him as saying.
On the Big Bang theory, Francis noted that “the Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
While the Pope’s comments do not serve as a radical new break with Catholic doctrine on these subjects, they are an affirmation by the Church’s highest officeholder of ideas which have long been considered murky and contested.
The Argentinian pontiff’s comments are the last in a series of words and deeds aimed at the modernization of the Church and the improvement of its image, which had been tarnished by priest child abuse over the past years. The pope has cracked down on such abusers, while talking about the need to be more accepting toward unmarried couples, divorcees, and homosexuals. He has even floated the idea of no longer requiring priests to take a vow of celibacy, carried out financial reforms in the Vatican, and criticized its bureaucracy. The pope has repeated taken bold stances against international tensions and the dangers of war, and appealed to non-Catholics with messages of goodwill. His personal piety in choice of dress, vehicle and accommodations, along with humility toward the poor, the homeless, and criminals, have earned him the respect of young Catholics and even many non-Catholics around the world.