The Catholic Church in Auckland says criticisms of the church by an Italian Cardinal do not apply in New Zealand.
Carlo Maria Martini, who died on Friday, told an interviewer last month that the Catholic Church is 200 years behind the times.
He said the Church is tired and its prayer rooms are empty.
Lyndsay Freer, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Auckland, said the Cardinal's comments were challenging.
But she said the number of people going to church in New Zealand is actually increasing.
Ms Freer said many would agree with the Cardinal that there is room for improvement in how the Church applies its teaching.
She said Cardinal Martini was highly regarded and his death is a huge loss.