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Thousands at funeral of outspoken cardinal

by
07 September 2012

by a staff reporter

THE VATICAN

Would-be reformer: the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (right), seen with Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, had urged the RC Church to update itself

Would-be reformer: the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (right), seen with Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, had urged the RC Church to update itself

A PROGRESSIVE and outspoken Archbishop, who was once forecast to succeed Pope John Paul II, has died at the age of 85, writes a staff reporter.

In Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini's final interview, just days before his death, he said that the Roman Catholic Church was "200 years out of date".

He called on the Church to admit its mistakes, and 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," Cardinal Martini said in the interview, published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Saturday, the day after his death.

"The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the Pope and the bishops. The paedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation."

The Cardinal retired in 2002, suffering from Parkinson's Dis- ease, which eventually caused his death.

His funeral was held on Monday, in Milan Cathedral. It was attended by thousands of people, and about 200,000 filed past his body as it lay in state over the weekend.

At the funeral, Pope Benedict paid tribute to his "open spirit", in a message read on his behalf by a senior Vatican official, Cardinal Angelo Comastri. He said that Cardinal Martini was "an untiring servant of the gospel and the Church".

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