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Leonardo 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 and philosophy 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 .
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.
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.”  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.  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.
From WorldCat with links to individual book pages on the WorldCat site:
Works by Leonardo Boff most widely held in libraries:
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
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:
- The silencing of Leonardo Boff : the Vatican and the future of world Christianity by Harvey Gallagher Cox (Book)
- The path to hope : fragments from a theologian’s journey by Leonardo Boff (Book)
- The liberation christologies of Leonardo Boff and Jon Sobrino : Latin American contributions to contemporary christology by Donald E Waltermire (Book)
- Introducing contemporary theologies : the what and the who of theology today by Neil Ormerod (Book)
- Council and context in Leonardo Boff’s ecclesiology : the rebirth of the church among the poor by Kjell Nordstokke (Book)
- The world as sacrament : sacramentality of creation from the perspectives of Leonardo Boff, Alexander Schmemann, and Saint Ephrem by M Kadavil (Book)
- Reden vom dreieinigen Gott in Brasilien und Indien : Grundzüge einer ökumenischen Hermeneutik im Dialog mit Leonardo Boff und Raimon Panikkar by Rudolf von Sinner (Book)
- Rechtfertigungsgeschehen und Befreiungsprozess : die Eschatologien von Martin Luther und Leonardo Boff im kritischen Gespräch by Claus Schwambach (Book)
- Leonardo Boff : zwischen Poesie und Politik by Horst Goldstein (Book)
- Gnadenlehre und Sakramentenlehre bei Leonardo Boff : eine textimmanente Untersuchung by Albert Dietrich (Book)
- Trinitätslehre als Sozialkritik? : das Verhältnis von Gotteslehre und Sozialkritik in den trinitätstheologischen Entwürfen von Jürgen Moltmann und Leonardo Boff by Stephanie Hartmann (Book)
- Die Zweireichelehre Martin Luthers im Dialog mit der Befreiungstheologie Leonardo Boffs : ein ökumenischer Beitrag zum Verhältnis von christlichem Glauben und gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung by Silfredo Bernardo Dalferth (Book)
- Der Fall Boff : eine Dokumentation (Book)
- Praktijk of principe : basisgemeenschappen en de ecclesiologie by Berma Klein Goldewijk (Book)
- Kirche als Gemeinschaft der Befreiung : Vergleich und Zusammenführung der ekklesiologischen Ansätze der Befreiungstheologie bei Leonardo Boff und der feministischen Theologie bei Rosemary Radford Ruether und Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza by Andrea M Friedrich (Book)
- Christologie und Nachfolge : eine systematisch-ökumenische Untersuchung zur Befreiungschristologie bei Leonardo Boff und Jon Sobrino by Antonio Carlos de Melo Magalhães (Book)
- Nuestra América : crítica de los signos ocultos de la modernidad by Guillermo Castro H. (Book)
- Dominação & mudança : libertação na teologia de Leonardo Boff by Angelo Longo (Book)
- O outro caminho da libertação : conversa imaginária com o Prof. Frei Leonardo Boff by Mário Graciotti (Book)
- Contemporary hispanic biography. Volume 3 (Book)