In final interview, Cardinal says Church "200 years out of date"

ROME Sat Sep 1, 2012 3:01pm EDT

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ROME (Reuters) - The former archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said the Catholic Church was "200 years out of date" in his final interview before his death, published on Saturday.

Martini, once favored by Vatican progressives to succeed Pope John Paul II and a prominent voice in the church until his death at the age of 85 on Friday, gave a scathing portrayal of a pompous and bureaucratic church failing to move with the times.

"Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous," Martini said in the interview published in Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

"The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops. The pedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation," he said in the interview.

In the last decade the Church has been accused of failing to fully address a series of child abuse scandals which have undermined its status as a moral arbiter, though it has paid many millions in compensation settlements worldwide.

Martini, famous for comments that the use of condoms could be acceptable in some cases, told interviewers the Church should open up to new kinds of families or risk losing its flock.

"A woman is abandoned by her husband and finds a new companion to look after her and her children. A second love succeeds. If this family is discriminated against, not just the mother will be cut off but also her children."

In this way "the Church loses the future generation", Martini said in the interview, made a fortnight before he died. The Vatican opposes divorce and forbids contraception in favor of fidelity within marriage and abstinence without.

A liberal voice in the church, Martini's chances of becoming pope were damaged when he revealed he was suffering from a rare form of Parkinson's disease and he retired in 2002.

Pope John Paul II was instead succeeded in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI, a hero of Catholic conservatives who is known by such critical epithets as "God's rottweiler" because of his stern stand on theological issues.

Martini's final message to Pope Benedict was to begin a shake up of the Catholic church without delay.

"The church is 200 years out of date. Why don't we rouse ourselves? Are we afraid?"

Martini was much loved and thousands paid their respects at his coffin in Milan cathedral on Saturday.

(Reporting By Naomi O'Leary)

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Comments (7)
The Catholic Church lost one of the few members of the Church’s heirarchy who was actually in touch with reality. The refusal of the Church to adjust to modern societal changes and adopt a more contemporary relationship with its flock will be its undoing. The Church’s leadership is indeed pompous, shortshighted and selfserving in there current stands in regards to serving modern Catholics and realities of the 21st century.

Sep 01, 2012 4:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Stanley7746 wrote:
Can this be taken as a rejection of the policies put forth by Paul Ryan and the Republican Party?

Sep 01, 2012 4:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
VonHell wrote:
The problem with every religion is the very essence that defines each one: doctrine… more you have, bigger your problem to adapt…
These unchangeable beliefs are the “pillars of the faith” and without them people would simply lose faith on that religion… since they seek religion to fill something to believe, that do not change, to guide their lives… from the resurrection, sex out of marriage, homossexualism , etc, etc… all part of that…

But the problem is that societies evolve… and cultural and social values change… and the biggest religions have too many “unchangeable beliefs” that are archaics, some even to medieval times… and they fight to keep the old sheep with their more conservative empty minds at the same time that is more and more less probable they find new herd…
That is why we have so many money making- small churchies in ascention… they are the fast food of the faith industry… provide only your inmediate spiritual need for a decimus or something like of your salary…

Sep 01, 2012 6:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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