In his last interview, an Italian cardinal condemned the Roman Catholic Church as "200 years behind" and needing radical transformation.

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, 85, died Friday and his interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera was published the next day.

He lambasted the church for being “tired” and said that its “prayer rooms are empty.”

Once the archbishop of Milan, the Cardinal had been tipped as a possible future pope. During his time leading the largest diocese in Europe, he was outspoken and often critical in his remarks and writings about the church. Martini retired in 2002, suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

In the interview, Martini urges the church to enact radical changes.

"It's tired. Why doesn't it rouse itself? Is it afraid?" he said.

"The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops. The pedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation."

Pope pays homage

In a statement following Martini's death, Pope Benedict XVI remembered his “intense and prodigious Apostolic work” and hailed the Cardinal as “[a] zealous spiritual son of St. Ignatius” — but he did not address Martini’s criticism.

St. Ignatius was a Spanish knight who founded the Jesuit order, known for its rigorous intellectual training.

Martini was a member of the Jesuit religious order, lauded as a man of dialogue and viewed with affection by reform-minded Catholics.

In the interview, he also took a progressive stance on marriages after divorce and said the church should be more open to blended families or risk losing future generations as members.

"A woman is abandoned by her husband and finds a new companion to look after her and her children. A second love succeeds. If this family is discriminated against, not just the mother will be cut off but also her children," he said.

Martini was also famous for comments about the use of contraception, that in some cases it should be viewed as acceptable.

Cardinal Martini's body currently lies in state at Milan's cathedral, where thousands of mourners have been paying their respects. His funeral mass will take place Monday at the cathedral.

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  • Coffin Carried To Milan Cathedral

    The coffin of cardinal Carlo Maria Martini is carried to Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, a progressive who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012 aged 85. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO/OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Coffin On Way To Cathedral

    The coffin of cardinal Carlo Maria Martini is carried to Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, a progressive who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012 aged 85. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO/OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Blessing The Coffin

    Cardinal Angelo Scola (R) blesses the coffin of cardinal Carlo Maria Martini as it is carried to Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, 85-years old, a progressive cardinal who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Coffin of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

    The coffin of cardinal Carlo Maria Martini is carried to Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, a progressive who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012 aged 85. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO/OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

    The coffin cardinal Carlo Maria Martini is carried to Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, 85-years old, a progressive cardinal who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Carried Into Milan Cathedral

    The coffin cardinal Carlo Maria Martini is carried to Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, 85-years old, a progressive cardinal who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Paying Tribute

    Catholics pay tribute to Italian cardinal Carlo Maria Martini at Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, 85-years old, a progressive cardinal who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

    Catholics pay tribute to Italian cardinal Carlo Maria Martini at Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, 85-years old, a progressive cardinal who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Catholics Pay Tribute

    Catholics pay tribute to Italian cardinal Carlo Maria Martini at Milan's cathedral on September 1, 2012. Martini, 85-years old, a progressive cardinal who pushed for a rethink on modern issues and was once tipped as a possible pope, died on August 31, 2012. Martini, himself a former archbishop of Milan who advocated reform on issues such as contraception and the role of women in the Church, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for years and his condition had degenerated this week. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Pope Benedict With Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

    FILE -- In this Friday May 27, 2005 file photo released by the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano daily, Pope Benedict XVI poses for a photo with the former archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini at the Vatican. Martini, a rare liberal within the highly conservative Catholic Church hierarchy who was nevertheless long considered a papal contender, has died at age 85. He had been battling Parkinson's disease for years. His death Friday Aug. 31, 2012 was announced by the Milan archdiocese. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

  • Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

    FILE -- In this April 18, 2005 file photo shows Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini attending a Mass in the St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Martini, a rare liberal within the highly conservative Catholic Church hierarchy who was nevertheless long considered a papal contender, has died at age 85. He had been battling Parkinson's disease for years. His death Friday Aug. 31, 2012 was announced by the Milan archdiocese. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

  • Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

    FILE -- In this file photo taken on Sept. 8, 2002, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini leaves after celebrating his last Mass as archbishop at Milan's Duomo cathedral. Martini, a rare liberal within the highly conservative Catholic Church hierarchy who was nevertheless long considered a papal contender, has died at age 85. He had been battling Parkinson's disease for years. His death Friday Aug. 31, 2012 was announced by the Milan archdiocese. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)

  • Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

    FILE -- In this photo taken on Dec. 2, 2007, Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, head of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, a Catholic study center in Jerusalem, prays next to a Menorah during a ceremony in the Catholic center in Jerusalem. Cardinal Martini, a rare liberal within the highly conservative Catholic Church hierarchy who was nevertheless long considered a papal contender, has died at age 85. He had been battling Parkinson's disease for years. His death Friday Aug. 31, 2012 was announced by the Milan archdiocese. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)