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Catholic Church '200 years behind,' Cardinal says before death
Italian cardinal Carlo Maria Martini's body was lying in state at the cathedral in Milan, Italy, on September 1, 2012.
September 1st, 2012
02:56 PM ET

Catholic Church '200 years behind,' Cardinal says before death

From Livia Borghese, for CNN

ROME (CNN) - In an interview published a day after his death, a prominent progressive Catholic cardinal left the best summary of his contribution to debates within the Church.

"The Church has remained 200 years behind the times. Why has it not been shaken up?" Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said in an interview published in Saturday's Corriere dell Sera newspaper. "Are we scared? Fear instead of courage? However, faith is the fundamental to the church."

He died Friday at age 85, the Archdiocese of Milan announced.

Martini suffered from Parkinson's disease and died at his residence in Milan, where he had lived since 2008, when the disease forced him to leave Jerusalem, the archdiocese said.

A public viewing was scheduled for Saturday at Milan Cathedral and the funeral for Monday.

Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences to the archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, remembering his "beloved brother that served with generosity the Gospels and the Church."

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, called Martini "an expert and passionate in the Holy Scripture."

Martini was born in 1927 and entered the Society of Jesus at age 17.

Pope John Paul II appointed him archbishop of Milan in 1979 and proclaimed him cardinal in 1983. In 2002, at the retirement age of 75, Martini moved to Jerusalem to dedicate himself to Biblical studies, according to his official Vatican biography.

Martini was known for his progressive position on some of the Church's most controversial issues, including priestly celibacy, the use of condoms, euthanasia and homosexuality.

Even after his retirement, Martini raised "subtle though crucial objections" to the Church's opposition to all cases of assisted fertility, distribution of condoms to AIDS victims, and so-called right-to-die cases, Time magazine reported in 2007.

He "politely challenged" the pope's strong condemnation of an Italian government proposal to legalize civil unions for homosexual partners and voiced support for the ordination of women as deacons, Time reported.

Italy's ANSA news agency said Martini was considered one of the more liberal high-ranking representatives of the Catholic Church.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano remembered Martini's "innovative paths in the inter-religious dialogue," as well as the "enlightening and concrete suggestions" he received from the prelate in each of their many encounters, especially on social themes like immigration.

Martini was one of the "papabili," or papal contenders, at the 2005 Conclave that elected the current pope.

- shirleyhenrycnn

Filed under: Catholic Church • Uncategorized • Vatican

soundoff (261 Responses)
  1. ZeusDeusMaximus

    Still waiting for you to disprove MY existence for I AM ZEUS THE ONLY REAL GOD....and you are losing Pascal's Wager....

    PULL.......ka POW............ha ha ha puny humans.....

    November 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  2. PrimeNumber

    Which zeitgeist is the church 200 years behind? How many "spirits of the age" has the church already outlasted? Did the good cardinal specify? At least he made his particular tastes known before he joined Christoper Hitchens in the Halls of Irrelevance.

    November 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  3. sac a main vuitton pas cher

    Rarely glower, although one is blue, as you are can never predict the person reducing motivated by a giggle.
    sac a main vuitton pas cher http://www.ruezalando.fr/

    October 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  4. Truth

    Revelation 17:5 = "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." This is the Catholic Church, and the harlots are all of the churches which have sprung from her.

    September 30, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      and the churches which have sprung from her? All 30,000 of them?

      November 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  5. peregrino

    @ Gregg

    You said: "Our current bible is missing many books that the council of trent deemed unworthy, though they too were considered god's law"

    The Council of Trent met in the 16th century and reaffirmed the books and order of the already-traditional bible in response to changes made by Protestants during the Reformation. Books were discarded during the course of coming to a canonical bible, but that happened over time many centuries before the Council of Trent. Otherwise I think your point is well taken, it is not possible to think that the Bible is inspired without thinking that those who wrote and compiled it were inspired.

    September 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  6. pat

    But I thought the Catholic church accepted things like the Theory of Evolution,whereas Evangelical churches did not. I understand that the Vatican even anticipates an encounter with extra-terrestrials. Also The Catholics seem consistant in being against both the death penalty and abortion and evangelicals still favor the death penalty.

    September 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • WowCNNbadjob

      Most christians, including the vast majority of evangelicals, consider evolution to be true. Some, like me, consider the book of Genesis to pretty much sum it up word for word so closely to our modern understanding, it's frightening. But in order to see it that way you would have to know the basic native hebrew translation that genesis was originally written in. Things like Adam were not even a name back then, it was a term for "Mankind out of the dust of the earth". The modern 7 day account is also not accurate. They used two different terms from a 24 hour day and the creation period in that book. The one for the creation period translated into "full complete phase", and just like mankind out of the dust of the earth being accurate to modern evolutionary thought, we are in fact in the 7th phase of gigaplexial evolution since the theoretical big bang.

      September 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  7. sullivan433@gmail.com

    Pollard deserves to be in prison..... forever. Frankly I am sick of the fighting in the Middle East, caused by Zionists. It was not your land. You were given the land and have ever since, fought and brought to the Arabs everything the germans did to you.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  8. Jose M. Pulido

    I thought Christopher Reeves had died in 2004, didin't he?

    September 17, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  9. Jose M. Pulido

    Is the Catholic church 200 years behind? I think it is more like 2000 years behind.

    September 17, 2012 at 5:42 am |
  10. ConfucianScholar

    Let's face it, Ratzinger took him out.

    September 13, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  11. Ari

    Thanks for derailing a thread for the morning of a Religious figure with your sick psycho babble over that filthy dog Pollard.

    May he rot in jail till he closes his eyes for the last time for his betrayal of the American people. Least you forget...There is only room for ONE set of allegiance as an American...that is to the USA NOT Israel or any other nation.

    A treasonous spy that should have been hung in downtown D.C.

    September 13, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  12. MDDon

    Had Cardinal Martini become the pope the Catholic church would not be the predominantly negative organization it is today.

    September 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Darkman

      Agreed

      September 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  13. Jim Weix

    If Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini had ever been a Pope, there might not be more "recovering" Catholics than there are "practicing" ones.
    Too bad. The Catholic Church could have done so much more good if it had only not refused to adapt to the new educational levels of people and science in general.

    September 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  14. tuvia

    B"H

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE

    PLEASE ASK THE CANDIDATE THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.
    JONATHAN POLLARD HAS SPENT ENOUGH TIME IN PRISON.
    IT IS TIME THAT HE IS PARDONED

    LET MY PEOPLE GO SENETOR HILLIARY CLINTON AND hussein OBAMA. LET JONATHAN POLLARD GO NOW
    LET MY PEOLE GO

    Rabbi Chaim Richman answers President Obama's Cairo speech

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyBZhTaf1oU&w=640&h=390]

    WORLD VS ISRAEL. HILLARY CLINTON-THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR YOU – LET MY PEOPLE GO. FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW. LET MY PEOPLE GO BARRAK HUSSEIN OBAMA – NOW!
    The Land of Israel is the Promised Land given to our forefathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob and is given to us, their seed, as an everlasting Inheritance.
    PLEASE PLAY ON YOUR NETWORK NOW
    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    !!!!

    September 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • thomas riney

      Pollard is an American traitor and shold have been executed. He must never be released

      September 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • fritz

      He is a traitor who sold out his country for money. He will never be released. Why? We must continue to send the message to Israel that we don't like it when an ally we kept alive with billions of dollars in aid decides to thank us by spying on us. We expect this kind of duplicitous behavior from Muslim countries like Pakistan. But not from the Israeli government.

      September 11, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • WowCNNbadjob

      Regardless of pollard, the video was actually pretty good :|

      September 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  15. Curatica

    The cardinal, may God forgive him, was a fool, and a dangerous fool, because he represented the Catholic church and being a cardinal, was its prominent representative. God is immutable and so is His word, written in the Scriptures and explained by the teachings of the Church Fathers. It is not the Church who "should adapt to the times", but the times which should follow God's immutable word, verbatim. But man is sinful and has repeated over and over the original sin. It is not surprising in these pre-apocalyptic times, that some of the worst transgressions be proposed by a so called church man. Wonder what the standards of lay people would then be.

    September 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Jim Weix

      Unlike you, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini could have done much to make the Catholic Church something that people took seriously.

      September 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Gregg

      Problem is the bible is in the end a book. A book that has been translated multiple times. God's will may be immutable but human beings are not, and they are the ones who wrote, edited, and compiled the bible. Our current bible is missing many books that the council of trent deemed unworthy, though they too were considered god's law. The bible is a guide, Jesus's life was a guide for us, something for us to model after, not take literally. Or have you done your required sacrifices lately and not eaten pork, etc etc etc?

      September 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • communicator1453

      Is God really immutable? Or, is God, just an English word handed down from Teutonic roots to signify a deity, any deity, or perhaps an idol? Is God nothing more than a name invoked through an oblation or sacrifice, poured out on an alter? If by God, you mean YHWH, Elohim or Adonai, you may be using a sacrilegious name with God.

      September 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • fritz

      Shut up you idiot!

      September 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • fritz

      communicator1453 I agree with your post. My angry post was for Curatica. These kinds of self-righteous people just get under my skin. Didn't want you to think I was railing at you since my post came right after yours.

      September 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • hippie power 69

      do you seriously think if jesus came back today he would not flip over the vaticans money changers? how about the pedophile priests? what would he do to them? how about the way women are treated by the men of the church? all of these things are man made. jesus said nothing about marriage, women in the religion or the practice of it. jesus said to love one another. he said he who is without sin cast the first stone and who amoung us is without sin? the church alone could feed and clothe the poor of the world. the only thing they same interested in is power.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • JonPeter

      The flaw about your argument that god is immutable is that it assumes that we, as finite beings, already know all that we will know. This is not true. If you think so you are arrogant and the fool. The teachings here on earth are based on limited knowlege. Cardinal martini sought to uncover more knowledge and a better understanding. his point that the church has done little to understand more for the last 200 years is well taken. What part of that don't you understand ??

      September 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Lunatico

      May God forgive you too. Cause you are the fool. The Cardinal knew exactly what he said. But if you need to be guided in your life, as Benedict says, intead of that which Jesus Christ Himself tells us in the Holy Bible, then you are far from being a true Christian. Instead you are a true Catholic, a person who trusts men, but distrust God. Do not be a fool. wake up!

      December 22, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  16. tuvia

    B"H

    SHALOM, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.
    YOU SHOULD ALL HAVE A GREAT SHABBOS.
    HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND.

    SHALOM, YOM TOV.
    TUVIA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    DOES THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

    DOES HE AND THE REST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

    WANT THE TORAH?

    DO THEY WANT THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM AND DOES THE WORLD AND WILL YOU PLEASE
    ASK MR. ROMNEY, AND HIS CONVENTION THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.

    WE THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM
    WE WANT TO GET PERMISSION FROM THE WORLD TO
    BUILD THE 3RD TEMPLE.

    WE WANT TO ADVANCE THE EDUCATION TO THE WORLD
    THROUGH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    THE TEMPLE INSITUTE IN JERSUSALEM WILL HELP THE
    MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES WITH
    PERMISSION.

    MR. ROMNEY THE FOLLOWING QUESTION IS DIRECTED TO YOU.

    DO YOU MOURN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SECOND TEMPLE AND WILL YOU ALLOW THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM TO SERVE HASHEM IN THE LAND

    PLEASE ASK THE CANDIDATE THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.

    JONATHAN POLLARD HAS SPENT ENOUGH TIME IN PRISON.

    IT IS TIME THAT HE IS PARDONED.

    WILL THE PRESIDENT PARDON JONTATHAN POLLARD ON

    THE PLATFORM OF HUMANITARIANISM

    WILL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AGREE TO LET
    JONATHAN POLLARD GO BACK TO ISRAEL
    WITH HIS WIFE ESTER AND LIVE THEIR LIVES IN
    ISRAEL ONCE IF POSSIBLE THE PRESIDENT
    AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AGREE TO THIS.
    LET MY PEOPLE GO. PLEASE PARDON JONATHAN POLLARD
    MR. PRESIDENT.

    THANK YOU,

    TUVIA

    September 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • was blind but now I see

      What about the Nethinim and the Kennites?

      September 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Stan

      Pollard can die in prison. That is better than a spy deserves.

      September 14, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  17. GodFreeNow

    Really? Only 200?

    September 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      To be fair a lot has changed in 200 years.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Small "c" christian

      Some things may have changed, but in the end, the Catholic Church is still a big voice for repression rather than a voice for change.. Until the thinking at the top comes around to match the late Cardinal Martini's, I am afraid that status quo will be the mainstay of this sad, aging and ultimately doomed organization.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Stan

      @Small "c" christian... I wouldn't necessarily call it doomed. It seems like Catholic is the new Evangelical, especially amongst American conservatives.

      September 14, 2012 at 8:41 am |
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