Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, archbishop of Milan from 1979 to 2002, who died in August 2012, was, among the church’s cardinals, the most visible critic of the pontificates of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The Milan prelate was throughout his life a proponent for a deeply pastoral church. He was close friends of Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, another pastoral proponent, and Britain’s Benedictine Cardinal Basil Hume, who were both out of favor with the more authoritarian predecessors to Pope Francis.
In an interview that appeared several weeks after Martini’s death, he said our church is 300 years behind the times and failing to meet the needs of the people.
In an article that appeared in the Italian newspaper, "Corriere della Sera," Oct. 11, the author compares Martini’s “dream” vision of church to the one Francis is attempting to build.
The author writes:
"In the conclave of 2005, Martini was the cardinal symbol of the failed opposition to the election of Joseph Ratzinger. And the votes of his supporters, together with others, converged at the time precisely on Bergoglio.
Eight years later, in March of 2013, it was again the "martiniani" who backed the election of Bergoglio as pope. This time with success.
And today they are seeing come true, in the first acts of Pope Francis, what for Martini was only a “dream.” The dream of a Church “synodal, poor among the poor, inspired by the gospel of the beatitudes, leaven and mustard seed."