Sir Elton John has claimed that Jesus would have been a supporter of gay marriage.

The musician, who plans to marry his civil partner David Furnish next year in a "very quiet" ceremony, said that rules preventing gay clergy from marrying and requiring Catholic priests to be celibate were "old and stupid things".

He told Sky News' Murnaghan programme yesterday: "The church hierarchy, the traditionalists, might be up in arms about it but times have changed.

Loading article content

"If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen.

"He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together and that is what the church should be about."

The singer also said he believed the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was "doing a good job" and Pope Francis was "wonderful".