Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor
By Leonardo Boff
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.
About Leonardo Boff (adapted from http://leonardoboff.com/site-eng/lboff.htm)
Leonardo Boff was born in Concórdia, Santa Catarina, Brazil, on the December 14, 1938. He is the grandson of Italian immigrants from the region of Veneto who came to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in the final part of the nineteenth century. He received his primary and secondary education in Concórdia – Santa Catarina, Rio Negro – Paraná, and Agudos – São Paulo. He studied Philosophy in Curitiba – Paraná and Theology in Petrópolis – Rio de Janeiro. He joined the Order of the Franciscan Friars Minor in 1959 and received his doctorate in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Munich – Germany, in 1970.
For 22 years he was the professor of Systematic and Ecumenical Theology at the Franciscan Theological Institute in Petrópolis. He has served as a professor of Theology and Spirituality in various centers of higher learning and universities in Brazil and the rest of the world, in addition to being a visiting professor at the universities of Lisbon (Portugal), Salamanca (Spain), Harvard (United States), Basel (Switzerland), and Heidelberg (Germany).
He was present in the first theological reflections that sought to articulate indignation toward the misery and marginalization of large sections of humanity, which later generated the Christian faith movement known as Liberation Theology. He has always been an ardent of the Human Rights cause, helping to formulate a new, Latin American perspective on Human Rights with, “Rights to Life and the ways to maintain them with dignity.”
He has received honorary doctorates, in Politics from the University of Turin (Italy) and in Theology for the University of Lund (Sweden). He has also been honored with various awards, within Brazil and the rest of the world, for his struggles on behalf of the weak, the oppressed and marginalized, and Human Rights.
From 1970 until 1985 he participated in the editorial council of Editora Vozes. During this time he participated in the coordination and publication of the collection, “Theology and Liberation” and the entire edition of the works of C. G. Jung. He was Editor-in-chief of “Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira” from 1970 to 1984, of “Revista de Cultura Vozes” from 1984 to 1992, and of “Revista Internacional Concilium” from 1970 to 1995.
In 1984, he was submitted to a process of examination by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, former Holy Office, in the Vatican. This was due to his theses linked to liberation theology exposed in his book Church: Charism and Power. In 1985 he was condemned to “obsequious silence” and was removed from his editorial functions and suspended from religious duties. Due to international pressure on the Vatican, the decision was repealed in 1986, allowing him to return to some of his previous activities.
In the chair of Galileo Galilei…
In 1992, under renewed threats of a second punitive action by authorities in Rome, he renounced his activities as a priest and ‘promoted himself the state of laity.’ “I changed trenches to continue the same fight.” He continues as a liberation theologian, writer, professor, widely hear conference speaker in Brazil among other countries, also as an adviser of social movements of liberating popular matrix, as the Landless Movement and the Base Ecclesial Communities (CEBs), between others.
In 1993 he was selected as professor of Ethics, Philosophy of Religion and Ecology at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).
On December 8, 2001 he was honored with the alternative Nobel prize, “Right Livelihood Award” in Stockholm, Sweden.
He presently lives in Jardim Araras, an ecological wilderness area on the municipality of Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro. He shares his life and dreams with the defender/educator of Human Rights from a new ecological paradigm, Marcia Maria Monteiro de Miranda. He has also become the “father by affinity” of a daughter and five sons, sharing the joys and sorrows of responsible parenthood. He lives, accompanies and recreates the unfolding of life in the “grandkids” Marina, Eduardo and Maira.
He is the author of more than sixty books in the areas of Theology, Spirituality, Philosophy, Anthropology and Mysticism. Most of his works have been translated into the main modern languages.
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