The former archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said the Catholic church was "200 years out of date" in his final interview before his death.
Martini, once favoured by Vatican progressives to succeed Pope John Paul II and a prominent voice in the church until his death on Friday at the age of 85, gave a scathing account of a pompous and bureaucratic organisation 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 paedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation," he said in the interview, published on Saturday.