Cardinal Martini dies. This is the man that should have been Pope. The Papacy should be for Italians. The others live in fantasyland in the Stone Age ministering to Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Cardinal scathing of ‘tired’ church

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Maria Martini said the Catholic Church as “200 years out of date” in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 today.

Cardinal Martini, once favoured by Vatican progressives to succeed
Pope John Paul II and a prominent voice in the church until his death
at the age of 85 yesterday, 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,” he
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 paedophilia scandals
oblige us to take a journey of transformation,” he said in the
interview.

“The Church is tired… our prayer rooms are empty.”

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.

Cardinal 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”, he said in the
interview, made a fortnight before he died. The Vatican opposes
divorce and forbids contraception in favour of fidelity within
marriage and abstinence without.

A liberal voice in the church, Cardinal 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.

Cardinal 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 today.