The funeral Mass of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a leading liberal voice of the Church who died on Friday, is to take place this afternoon in his former cathedral in Milan.
Thousands of mourners have filed past the Jesuit cardinal's body, which has been lying in state with crosier and mitre in the cathedral, where he will be buried.
Pope Benedict XVI is not thought to be attending the funeral of the 85-year-old but in a statement he paid tribute to his ministry, focusing on his work as a biblical scholar.
The Italian daily Corriere della Sera published the cardinal's final interview, given in August, in which he described the Catholic Church as being "200 years behind" the times, adding: "Our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous."
Above: Cardinal Martini, who died on Friday after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. Photo: CNS
Comment: Tablet editor Catherine Pepinster writes 'Out-of-date' Catholic Church must listen to its late cardinal for the Guardian's Comment is Free