Hours after Milan's former Archbishop, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, died at the weekend at the age of 85, the leading daily paper Corriere della Sera printed his final interview, in which he attacks the Church - and by implication its current leadership - for being "200 years out of date".
"Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous," the Cardinal said. "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."
Church insiders believe he wished for the interview to be published following his death.
Cardinal Martini was noted for supporting the use of condoms, at least a decade before the Vatican grudgingly accepted they might be acceptable in certain situations to prevent the transmission of HIV. He also questioned the Church's line on gay relationships and divorce - calling on it to reconsider what constituted a family in the 21st century or risk losing even more of its flock.
Ah, now it all makes sense. A Catholic champion of condoms, gay relationships, divorce, etc, is always going to make the news, and will generally be noticed in New Zealand.
Interestingly enough, the writer of the piece the NZ Herald has published typically writes a lot about the Vatican, and most of it is not positive.
Fr Z. has a couple of points : Two notes about the late Card. Martini (R.I.P.)
UPDATE: Pope Benedict XVI Remembers Cardinal Martini as Man of God (Hattip Chris Sullivan)
Related link: Dying cardinal: Church 200 years out of date ~ NZ Herald