Leonardo Boff – Brazil

Leonardo Boff was born 14 December 1938 in Concórdia, Santa Catarina state, Brazil. He is a theologian, philosopher 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 … and: 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 … (full text).

More about him on wikipedia (last modified on 31 October 2008):

His Bio:as Third World Traveler Heroe, (and on their general Heroe-page); on Betterworld Heroe; on Right Livelihood Award; on Spirituallity and Practise; on Answers.com; on Univ. of Florida.

The Welcome Page on his official website (leading to a Homepage en Português, en Español and in English).


Leonardo Boff – Brazil

Watch this video en portugese: Leonardo Boff – Nosso Planeta, 56.10 min, March 01, 2007.

Two Interviews: to the Comunita Italiana, novembro de 2001; and: LIBERATION THEOLOGY IS INCREASINGLY TIMELY, Jan. 26, 2005.

He says: … Today social justice represents one of the most serious challenges to the conscience of the world. The abyss between those who are within the world ‘order’ and those who are excluded is widening day by day. The use of leading-edge technologies has made it possible to accumulate wealth in a way that is fantastic but perverse because it is unjustly distributed. Twenty-percent of humankind control eighty percent of all means of life. That fact creates a dangerous imbalance in the movement of history … (full text Quotes).

Find him and his publications on the english part of his website (click on publications); on amazon; on flickr; on Library Thing; on bookfinder; on Google Video-search en portugese; on Google Images-search; on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Photo-search Picasa; on Google Blog-search.

He writes: The elevation of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to Pope of the Catholic Church has brought satisfaction to some, and concern to others. Two factors cause these concerns: his style of governing the Church, and his basic attitude vis-a-vis today’s pluralistic world … (full long text, April 25, 2005).

Dica de site – Leonardo Boff, 8.11.2008.

Leonardo Boff, l’économie spéculative n’a pas d’avenir, Oct. 27, 2008.

Sefaletle dolu bir dünyada Hristiyan olmak, TEMEL SORU: SEFALETLE DOLU BİR DÜNYADA HIRİSTİYAN OLMAK, 18 Kasım 2008.

He says also: “Solidarity, compassion, caring, communion and loving. Such values and inner powers can lay the foundation of a new paradigm of civilization, the civilization of the humanity reunited in the Common House, on the Planet Earth … our mission is to celebrate the greatness of Creation and connect it again to the Core where it came from and to where it will go, with care, lightness, joy, reverence and love.” (on Right Livelihood Award).

A crise econômico-financeira remete à crise de humanidade
, 07/11/2008.

Teologia da Libertação: Leonardo Boff e Frei Betto, 27.10.2008.

Carta de são Francisco de Assis aos governantes dos povos, 31/10/2008.

Professor Ratzinger: Una Chiesa ripiegata su se stessa
: Spaventata dal nuovo. Che punta su dottrina e disciplina, non sulla speranza. L’atto di accusa al papa del teologo della liberazione Leonardo Boff, 30 ottobre 2008.  La Teología de la Liberación: Leonardo Boff y Frei Betto, 23.10.08.

… I totally support Greenpeace in their effort to block palm oil shipments because palm plantations are a horrible natural catastrophe for our sacred forests and our lovely and holy mother land. Stop forest clearing for oil plantations and for any other purposes. Remember we only have one earth and outside this world there is no salvation. Remember also that the cry of the earth is also the cry of the poor, to quote the theologians Paul Knitter, Edward Schillebeckx and Leonardo Boff … (full text FRANS EFBE, Bandung, 16 Nov 2008).

… In Part 3 of the book, “Imagination and Principle into a New Ethic,” Leonardo Boff offers a new paradigm created through reflecting on the concept of care in the Earth Charter. His ethical vision is grounded on the a priori nature of care and the way in which this concept provides a new basis for interacting with other humans and with the wider community of life … (full text, Novembre 15, 2008).

The Vatican’s recent lifting of the “silencing” of Brazilian Franciscan theologian Leonardo Boff for writings deemed injurious to the faith means that his voice and pen once more have their full power. This happy outcome provides an occasion to examine the broad sweep of Boff’s writings – not only those that got him in trouble. Whatever Boff’s ongoing difficulties with Rome may be, he is an important theologian for all Christians, both Protestants and Catholics … (full text).

” Today we are in a new phase of humanity. We all are returning to our common house, the Earth: the people, the societies, the cultures and religions. Exchanging experiences and values, we enrich ourselves and we complete ourselves mutually … and: We go to laugh, to cry and to learn. To learn especially how to marry Heaven and Earth, namely, how to combine daily life with the surprising, the opaque immanence of the days with the radiant transcendence of the spirit, life at full freedom with death symbolized as to join the ancestors, the discrete happiness of this world with the great promise of eternity. And finally we will have discovered thousands of reasons to live more and better, all together, like a great family, in the same beautiful, generous and Common Village, the planet Earth”, (his english Homepage).

… Boff says the Catholic Church is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the poor. The people he works with now are committed to building a better world not because they are Christians but because they are profoundly human. The poor in Brazil are now finding a vision of social justice and community in the ‘comunidades de base’ or ‘Base Christian Communities’. There are more than 100,000 of these grassroots Christian groups in Brazil which attempt to fuse the teachings of Christ with a liberating social gospel … and: who says the poor are much worse off today than 30 or 40 years ago. He says that in Brazil the excluded don’t believe in the old myths of development anymore. They feel that development has been at their cost and not for their benefit. “Brazil has 150 million inhabitants, and for a third of them the system functions well, but for the other 100 million it is a disaster … and: Boff argues, the first step toward change is for the poor to take charge of their own lives. “The institutional Church counts on the support of the economic and political powers.” As far as Boff is concerned, “the Pope’s approach to the world is feudalistic. He wants a Church of the rich for the poor, but not with the poor” … (cited on Third World Traveler -Bio)”.

Liberation theology is not a science that comes out of seminars or academies. It is not Leonardo Boff or Gustavo Gutiérrez [its intellectual creators]. Liberation theology is the grass root communities and not the reverse. The golden years of Liberation Theology were the 1960s to 80s. It was born out of Christians´ practice in their struggle for liberation and in Latin America it drew a lot of its strength from the fight against US imperialism. Nelson Rockefeller [secretary for Inter-American Affairs under US President Richard Nixon (1969-74) and author of the controversial Rockefeller Report on Latin America] considered Liberation Theology as more threatening than Marxism itself. In effect, Liberation Theology had a lot of influence in the Sandinista revolution [in Nicaragua] and in El Salvador … (full text, 7 Nov 2008).

And he says: … “We theologians and clergy of the world are always participating in the WSF discussions, precisely because we see here the possibility of raising the awareness of the poor for the historic moment we are living. Fundamentally, we have to overcome poverty, eliminate it from the world. That is raising awareness, and it becomes possible through networks, political parties, NGOs, base communities, and volunteers around the planet … and: The Catholic Church is experiencing very strong internal tensions. The tendency of the Vatican is that it is increasingly interested in having a strong church and not a better world. There do exist sectors of the Church that support President Bush, but there are progressives who believe in a mature, academic culture, who pursue the option for the poor. What we want is a more religious church, and therefore one that is turned towards those who most need it. The Church is in the middle of the people, it relates directly with the communities. It can’t make religion a mere factor of accommodation and historic indifference. On the contrary, it must support moments of indignation, resistance and liberation. There is a new society, a new humanity is being created and it is crucial to accompany this phenomenon” … and: We have lost the memory of the earth. But there is a turning of humanity back towards it. I work and I think with a sense of caution. We most work ecologically to prevent total destruction. For example, I think Agenda 21 (the UN plan for sustainable development) is very important, which discusses the planet’s environmental matters, and where the priority is to demand a truce for nature, allow it to recover for some time and only then begin again to use its resources. That is a utopia that is possible”. (full interview text, 26/1/2005).

I. Boff’s Theological Method: As Emiho Nunez observes, “liberation theology is a new method of doing theology,”combining biblical paradigms with a Marxist sociological analysis. Consonant with most liberationists, Boff declares that all theology is built upon two foundations, the one of faith and the other of social reality. By engaging the linguistic, philological and sociological tools of modern criticism, theology exegetes in the most rigorous manner possible the biblical text, and then interprets such data hermeneutically and philosophically. For Boff, theology becomes the intellectual savior of faith, producing the light of synthesis between primitive faith and modern conditions. On the other hand, however, extending his Thomistic heritage, Boff clarifies that the social conditions of Latin America are themselves the historical revelation of God. Rational Christian belief per se is but “an initiation to the Christian experience.”Therefore, theology becomes above all else an invitation to historical action: “definitive salvation and eschatology are mediated through the liberations of history.”The defining elements of authentic Christianity are not dogmatic but experiential, ethical and social. Consequently, a Marxist revolutionary movement may, in fact, be more genuinely Christian than a church defending the status quo: … (full text).

And finally he says: … “Spirituality is that attitude which puts life at the center, and defends and promotes life against all the mechanisms of death, desiccation, or stagnation. The opposite of spirit, in this sense, is not the body but death and everything associated with the system of death, understood in the widest sense of biological, social, and existential death (failure, humiliation, and oppression). Nourishing spirituality means cultivating the inward space, the basis of which all things can be brought together. It means overwhelming deadness and stagnation and living reality in terms of values, inspiration, and symbols of higher meaning. The spiritual person is one who is always in a position to see the other side of reality, and who is always capable of perceiving that profundity by which we are referred to the Ultimate Reality that religions call God … and: If peace is equilibrium of movement, we are living in times of grave disequilibrium of real war declared against Earth, against eco-systems which are plundered, against people who are shunted aside because word capital is no longer interested in exploiting them, against whole classes of workers who are made expendable and excluded: war against two-thirds of humankind who do not have the basic goods they need to live in peace. The world political movement does not show any equilibrium. Quite the contrary, imbalance in all areas is showing itself to be a threat to the common future of humankind and the earth … and: When a society is organized around that which is fitting in each realm, then peace, the fruit of justice, can flourish”  … (full text Quotes).


Harvey Gallagher Cox, Jr. (born May 19, 1929 in Malvern, Pennsylvania) and its book: The silencing of Leonardo Boff: the Vatican and the future of world Christianity. Meyer-Stone Books, 1988, ISBN 0-940989-35-2, and OCLC 18193194 230967924;

Book sources;






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