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The former archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said the Catholic Church as "200 years out of date" in his final interview before his death, published on Saturday.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