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Cardinal's last interview: Catholic church is 'out of date' and needs 'radical change'

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Cardinal's last interview: Catholic church is 'out of date' and needs 'radical change'

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The Catholic church is 200 years out of date, according an interview with a former papal candidate shortly before he died.

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini was archbishop of Milan until he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 2002 and retired.

The 85-year-old, who was once tipped as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II, died on Friday.

Shortly before his death, Martini gave an interview to an Italian newspaper. He said Catholic culture has aged, churches were big and empty and the faith’s rituals and cassocks looked pompous.

Martini said the church needed to be transparent about its past mistakes – especially the child abuse scandals that have come to light in recent years – and begin a radical change.

As archbishop, Martini was famous for advocating the use of condoms in some circumstances and said the church should be more accepting of divorce.

He called on Pope Benedict XVI, a theological conservative who beat him to the role, to shake up the Church without delay.