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Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a Jesuit, renowned biblical scholar, former archbishop of Milan and one-time “progressive” candidate for the papacy, died on Aug. 31 at the age of 85 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was still making headlines after his death when his final interview was published in Italy. In it he described the church as “200 years out of date” and said the pedophilia scandals “oblige” the church to begin “a journey of transformation.” He said, “Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up; our rituals and our cassocks are pompous.... The church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops.” Cardinal Martini was known as a strong pastor and as a thoughtful advocate of wider discussion and dialogue on controversial church positions. At various times, he expressed openness to allowing married Latin-rite priests, ordaining women as deacons and allowing Communion for some divorced Catholics.

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