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Text adapted from Creative Commons article on Wikipedia.

leonardo-boff-250pxwLeonardo Boff  was born 14 December 1938 in Concórdia, Santa Catarina state, Brazil. He is a theologian and writer, known for his active support for the rights of the poor and excluded.  He currently serves as Professor Emeritus of Ethics, Philosophy of Religion and Ecology at the Rio de Janeiro State University.

Studies as a priest

Boff entered the Franciscan Order in 1959 and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1964. He spent the following years studying for a doctorate in theology andphilosophy at the University of Munich, which he received in 1970. Boff’s doctoral thesis studied in what measure the church can be a sign of the sacred and the divine in the secular world and in the process of liberation of the oppressed. He has since published his thesis as a book available in German, entitled  Die Kirche als Sakrament im Horizont der Welterfahrung .

Liberation theology

He became one of the best known supporters (along with Gustavo Gutiérrez) of the early Liberation theologians. He was present in the first reflections that sought to articulate indignation against misery and marginalization with promissory discourse of the faith, leading to Liberation theology. He continues to be a controversial figure in the Catholic Church, primarily for his sharp criticism of the church’s hierarchy, which he sees as “fundamentalist”, but also for his past critical support of communist régimes.

Political views

He is critical of secular power as well of American foreign policy. He opposed the Iraq War and considered George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon’s leadership to be similar to that of “fundamentalist terrorist states.” He also criticizes despotic rulers in the Middle East: “Those [emirs and kings] are despotic, they do not even have a constitution. Though extremely rich, they maintain the people in poverty.” [1] Boff said in an interview with the site “Comunità Italiana” (November 2001) about September 11 attacks on the United States of America: “For me, the terrorist attack of September 11 represents the shift towards a new humanitarian and world model. The targeted buildings sent a message: a new world civilization cannot be built with the kind of dominating economy (symbolized by the World Trade Center), with the kind of death machine set up (the Pentagon) and with the kind of arrogant politics and producer of many exclusions (…) For me the system and culture of capital began to collapse. They are too destructive.” In the same interview he said that “One of the worst fundamentalisms is that of neoliberalism”.

Break from Roman Catholic Church

Authorities in the Roman Catholic Church did not appreciate his criticism of the church’s leadership. They also felt his human rights advocacy had “politicized everything” and accused him of Marxism. In 1985, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, directed at that time by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), silenced him for a year for his book  Church: Charism and Power . In the interview quoted above he accused Cardinal Ratzinger of “religious terrorism” ( terrorismo religioso ). He was almost silenced again in 1992 by Rome, this time to prevent him from participating in the Eco-92 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which finally led him to leave the Franciscan religious order and the priestly ministry. Boff joined the international group of Catholic Scholars who in 2012 issued the Jubilee Declaration on reform of authority in the Catholic Church.  [2] For most of his life Boff has worked as a professor in the academic fields of theology, ethics and philosophy throughout Brazil and also as lecturer in many universities abroad such as University of Lisbon,University of Barcelona, University of Lund, University of Oslo, University of Torino and others.

Books


From WorldCat with links to individual book pages on the WorldCat site:
Works by Leonardo Boff most widely held in libraries:

Introducing liberation theology   

Church, charism and power : liberation theology and the institutional church  

Jesus Christ liberator : a critical Christology for our time  

Salvation and liberation  

The maternal face of God : the feminine and its religious expressions  

Saint Francis : a model for human liberation  

Ecclesiogenesis : the base communities reinvent the church  

Faith on the edge : religion and marginalized existence  

Trinity and society  

When theology listens to the poor  

Liberating grace  by Leonardo Boff 

Liberation theology : from dialogue to confrontation  

Ecology & liberation : a new paradigm  

Cry of the earth, cry of the poor   “In his latest work, the noted Latin American theologian Leonardo Boff extends the intuitions of liberation theology, showing how they contribute to answering urgent questions of poverty and ecological degradation. If faith fails to appreciate the ecological paradigm, Boff argues, it only adds to the crisis and begs for reform.” “Focusing on the threatened Amazon of his native Brazil, Boff traces the economic and metaphysical ties that bind the fate of the rain forests with the fate of the Indians and poor of the land. He shows how liberation theology must join with ecology in reclaiming the dignity of the earth and our sense of a common community. To illustrate to possibilities, Boff turns to resources in Christian spirituality, ancient and modern, including cosmic Christology and the vision of St. Francis of Assisi.”–BOOK JACKET.

Passion of Christ, passion of the world : the facts, their interpretation, and their meaning yesterday and today   This classic work of liberation theology explores the meaning of the Cross, both as it has been interpreted in the past and how it should be interpreted in the context of contemporary faith and circumstances. These particular circumstances include the poverty and repression, fear and violence under which so many of the world s people suffer today. In such a world, how can the Cross be understood and preached and what are the consequences of that understanding?

The Lord’s prayer : the prayer of integral liberation  

Way of the Cross–way of justice  

New evangelization : good news to the poor  

Essential care an ethics of human nature   This volume draws on myth, science, and many faiths in Boff’s passionate plea for care.

1492-1992 : the voice of the victims  

Works about Leonardo Boff most widely held in libraries: