ROME, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The former archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said the Catholic Church was "200 years out of date" in his final interview before his death, published on Saturday.

Martini, once favoured by Vatican progressives to succeed Pope John Paul II and a prominent voice in the church until his death at the age of 85 on Friday, gave a scathing portrayal of a pompous and bureaucratic church 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.

In the last decade the Church has been accused of failing to fully address a series of child abuse scandals which have undermined its status as a moral arbiter, though it has paid many millions in compensation settlements worldwide.

Martini, famous for comments that the use of condoms could be acceptable in some cases, told interviewers the Church should open up to new kinds of families or risk losing its flock.

"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."

In this way "the Church loses the future generation", Martini said in the interview, made a fortnight before he died. The Vatican opposes divorce and forbids contraception in favour of fidelity within marriage and abstinence without.

A liberal voice in the church, Martini's chances of becoming pope were damaged when he revealed he was suffering from a rare form of Parkinson's disease and he retired in 2002.

Pope John Paul II was instead succeeded in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI, a hero of Catholic conservatives who is known by such critical epithets as "God's rottweiler" because of his stern stand on theological issues.

Martini's final message to Pope Benedict was to begin a shake up of the Catholic church without delay.

"The church is 200 years out of date. Why don't we rouse ourselves? Are we afraid?"

Martini was much loved and thousands paid their respects at his coffin in Milan cathedral on Saturday. (Reporting By Naomi O'Leary)

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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)