Martini was once a candidate for pope, a progressive alternative to Pope Benedict XVI, but he retired in 2002 after being diagnosed with a form of Parkinson's.
Previously, Martini made headlines by saying condoms were acceptable in some cases. In his final interview with Corriere della Sera, he spoke in broader terms about the Catholic Church.
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. The paedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation.
According to Martini, the Church's outdated policies and refusal to move forward are driving away future generations of churchgoers.
Martini's harsh final words are unlikely to change much, so don't look for the softer side of Pope Benedict any time soon.
The church is 200 years out of date. Why don't we rouse ourselves? Are we afraid?
The Catholic Church afraid of change? Now I've heard everything.
[Image via AP]