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Elton John slams Vatican for blessing its ‘Rocketman’ investment but not gay marriage

Elton John, left, and David Furnish in brightly embroidered formal wear.
Elton John, left, in 2019 with husband David Furnish, is criticizing the Catholic Church for its refusal to bless same-sex marriages.
(Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images)

Elton John is blasting the Catholic Church as hypocritical after the Vatican decreed Monday that priests could not bless same-sex unions, because God “cannot bless sin.”

Apparently, the church isn’t as averse to earning money from a movie, “Rocketman,” that closes with scenes of the singer, his husband, David Furnish, and their two young children.

“How can the Vatican refuse to bless gay marriages because they ‘are sin’, yet happily make a profit from investing millions in ‘Rocketman’ — a film which celebrates my finding happiness from my marriage to David?? #hypocrisy,” John posted Monday on social media, including screen shots of articles about the decree and the film investment.

The Daily Beast discussed the investment in a 2019 story about a review of church finances that was ordered by Pope Francis. The probe focused in part on the Malta-based Centurion Global Fund, which reportedly draws two-thirds of its investments from the Vatican Secretariat of State. It’s about $78 million, the Beast said.

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"[T]he most curious item on the report to come out so far,” the story said about documents that were reviewed by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, “is a $4.5 million expenditure recorded in February of this year related to finance for the 2019 films Men in Black: International and Elton John’s rather steamy biopic Rocketman, which portrays the entertainer’s drug problems and is the first studio movie to portray gay sex between men in an authentic way.

“While investing in mainstream entertainment is hardly sinful, the great contradiction is that the Catholic Church preaches to the devout that homosexuality is a sin.”

Mark Olsen sits down with actor Taron Egerton to talk about his portrayal of Elton John in the movie “Rocketman.”

The Vatican maintains that LGBTQ people must be treated with dignity and respect but that gay sex is “intrinsically disordered.” Catholic teaching holds that marriage between a man and woman is part of God’s plan and is intended for procreation.

In its new document, the Vatican said questions had been raised in recent years about whether the church should bless same-sex unions in a sacramental way, particularly after the pope had insisted on the need to better welcome and accompany gay people in the church.

The Vatican stressed the “fundamental and decisive distinction” between gay individuals and same-sex unions, noting that “the negative judgment on the blessing of unions of persons of the same sex does not imply a judgment on persons.”

There’s a moment during “Rocketman” when Elton John literally blasts into space, launching from the stage of Dodger Stadium as he sings the titular song, a trail of flames behind him.

John and Furnish, now 73 and 58, respectively, met in 1993, had a civil union in 2005 and welcomed sons Zachary and Elijah via surrogacy in 2010 and 2013. The couple married in 2014 after it became legal in the U.K.

In the fantasy-musical biopic “Rocketman,” the timeline of John’s life is not beholden to reality, allowing the story to end with the 1983 release of the song “I’m Still Standing” despite showing John’s failed 1984 marriage to recording engineer Renate Blauel and using the singer’s 1990 rehab stint as a storytelling device.

And though Furnish was a producer, the 2019 feature contains no mention of the men’s lasting relationship until its final two images before the credits roll.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin have been writing songs together for 50-plus years. They have no plans to stop.

This is hardly the “Crocodile Rock” singer’s first criticism of organized religion.

"[T]here are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion,” John, a self-declared atheist, told a London newspaper in 2006. “From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. ... Organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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