London (AFP) - British musician Elton John described Pope Francis as "wonderful" in an interview on Sunday in which he said Jesus would support gay marriage.
A top-selling pop star and one of the world's most prominent gay celebrities, John said the leader of the Catholic Church was a sign of hope.
"He's excited me so much by his humanity and taking everything down to the humility of faith...it's all basically about love and taking everybody in inclusiveness," John told Sky News.
Francis has appeared to strike a more conciliatory tone towards homosexuals than his predecessors since his election last year.
John said that gay members of the clergy should be able to wed and that he believed Jesus Christ would be in favour of gay marriage, which became legal in Britain in March.
"If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him... saying this could not happen," the pop star said.
"He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together and that is what the Church should be about."
John plans to marry his partner David Furnish next year in a "quiet" ceremony. The couple have two children together.
The entertainer, who has used his position as a prominent celebrity to speak out in support of gay rights, said he hoped to meet with President Vladimir Putin to discuss the issue on a trip to Russia later this year.
Putin earlier this year said that millions of Russians loved John "despite his orientation" in an attempt to defuse criticism over a law banning the dissemination of so-called "gay propaganda" to minors.
"I may not achieve anything but I have to try. There are so many people out there living a life of hell," John said. "As long as I'm alive I will fight for people's rights."