Italian Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a renowned biblical scholar, former archbishop of Milan and popular writer, gave a final interview shortly before he died on August 31.
During the interview, Cardinal Martini discussed renewal in the church:
“Vatican II restored the Bible to Catholics. … Only someone who receives this Word in his heart can be among those who will help the renewal of the church and will know how to respond to personal questions wisely. The Word of God is simple and seeks as its companion a heart that is listening. … Neither the clergy nor church law can substitute for a person’s inwardness. All the external rules, the laws, the dogmas were given to us in order to clarify the inner voice and to discern spirits.”
Cardinal Martini also described the situation of the church today as “tired” and said the church is “two hundred years behind.” When asked who can help the church, he said:
I advise the pope and the bishops to look for twelve people outside the lines for administrative posts [posti direzionali] — people who are close to the poorest and who are surrounded by young people and are trying out new things. We need that comparison with people who are on fire so that the spirit can spread everywhere.
Cardinal Martini also said that “the church has to recognize its own errors and has to travel a radical journey of change, beginning with the pope and the bishops.”
He ended the interview saying, “The good people around me enable me to experience love. This love is stronger than the feeling of discouragement that I sometimes feel in looking at the church in Europe. Only love conquers weariness. God is Love. I have a question for you: ‘What can you do for the church?’”
Read a translation of the full interview at the Commonweal website.