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Klaus P. Fischer

Option for the Poor

Observations on the Path of Leonardo Boff


From: Stimmen der Zeit, 12/2013, P. 806-816.
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


    On December 14, Leonardo Boff completes his 75 year of life. KLAUS P. FISCHER was youth and hospital chaplain, worked over decades in the field of religious education, parish pastoral care, and religious broadcasting work. He portrays the life and work of the Brazilian liberation theologian.


The Franciscan liberation theologian who on 14 December 2013 completes his 75 year of life became famous when in 1985 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, imposed on him a one-year" silence of penitence." The reason for it was his "militant ecclesiology," titled, "Church, Charism and Power" {1}. In the focus of the public interest was the advocate of the poor and - in the East/West conflict - the attitude of the Catholic Church towards socialism.


The "Church of the Poor"

The conflict because of Leonardo Boff went on for years {2}. The fuel for conflict includes the history that reaches up to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and leads to the "option for the poor." In the so-called "Catacombs Pact" (1965) {3} bishops who took part in Vaticanum II and theologians in Latin America substantiated it by referring to the motive "Church of the Poor" (Pope John XXIII), and to statements of the Council. "In the poor and afflicted" the Church sees "the image of its poor and suffering Founder" (LG 8). "This is all the more pressing since the greater part of the world is still suffering from so much poverty that it is as if Christ Himself were crying out in these poor to beg the charity of the disciples" (GS 88). In addition, the Council insisted on a "fully conscious, and active participation" of the "Christian faithful" in the liturgy: "they should learn also to offer themselves" by the "apostolic activity" (SC 14, 48; GE 4).

As regards the Christians of Brazil and other countries, they are largely poor, i.e. they have been pauperized and are exploited for the benefit and profit of capital. For Boff and others the "Option for the Poor" {4} involves also that theology and theologians intellectually and practically solidarize with the poor: They understand the Bible from their perspective; they share their disappointments, sufferings, and hopes; they approve also of syncretic forms of popular belief. They do this not only out of pity. They know that making poor, the impoverishment of millions of people is not destiny. It is produced and tolerated by a well-funded minority, and is therefore a true "abomination" in the eyes of God (cf. Ps 5:7; Isaiah 1, 13-17). This meant taking the side of the economically exploited - and opposition to the causative institutions and individuals.



Theology out of "Holy Anger"

In a lecture in Munich Cuvillies Theatre on June 20, 2013 Leonardo Boff affirmed that Karl Marx was "neither father nor godfather" of liberation theology. This means that it was not the exotic fruit of "real existing socialism" or neo-Marxist trends after 1968. However, the case is complex. According to Boff, the liberation theology was triggered by a "holy, prophetic anger at the general poverty and the collective misery of the masses" {5} in the "Third World". But holy indignation was still unable to put this reality in words. They were found in Marx: The "poor are the oppressed"; they are "dehumanized" by economic, political, cultural processes {6}.

As Frei Betto reported {7}, Brazil's young Catholic intellectuals of the 1950s and 60s were educated in anti-communism. They got first to know the dependency theory: The underdeveloped countries are in a hierarchical dependence on the industrial metropolises, and their use of power maintains the poverty of poor countries. One symptom of this dependence is the education: It trains people's awareness of dependence. Under the spell of the conception of dependence, the young people discovered in Marx's analysis of society approaches to explaining and solving the underdevelopment. It is not surprising that back in Brazil, after his doctorate in theology (with Scheffczyk and Joseph Ratzinger) in Munich in 1970, Boff saw Marxism as an instrument which made also the analysis of the Church as society (educational factor!) possible.

In the same year, the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire published the famous book "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" - his concept of literacy campaigns (stopped by the military in 1964). As a Christian, Freire used also categories of Marx' social analysis as an aid, and he helped Boff to develop his position. Freire worked also with Ivan Illich at the CIDOC Institute in Mexico. Illich, too, had radically called the usual education and its foundations (the idea of the Enlightenment that clueless human beings must first be prepared, i.e. "socialized") into question. It would alienate from one's own desire and ability to learn, from the extracurricular world, form mere consumers, pursue subtly the game of capitalism. Around 1967, the according to Boff "great prophet" Illich, who was also priest, critically analyzed the situation of the Church in Latin America: Dependent on importing capital and priests from North America, she would refresh her 'colonial face' in "unconscious fear of a new church!" Illich gave the gospel a chance only if the Church would completely withdraw from societal power - an early approach to "detachment from the world" {8} which inspired Boff.

All this was in the air, when Boff got down to work. With the critical essays on the church, he indirectly wrote also against the ruling, US-backed military regime. The tool "social analysis and critique of Marx" showed already traces of usage.



According to Boff, the biblical faith has the power to change society. He has therefore never shared Marx' critique that religion was protest "fixed in the clouds" against social misery. But the above-below structure of the Church favors such criticism. In nonreflective interdependence, the Church would tend to adapt her structure to the prevailing societal structure (think of Late Antiquity). If the society is asymmetric, i.e. one class has the power and economic monopoly and the majority of the population depends on it, this structure would arouse in the church the tendency to form herself analogously, as e.g. to put exclusively the clergy in possession of religious "means of production."

With the result that concepts such as "spiritual", "church," "unity," "holiness," "catholicity", "apostolicity" would primarily become the property of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The attitude of recipients and of obedience was - without any alternative, because their salvation is dependent on it - allocated to the church people who are supposedly spiritually poor and uneducated. The faithful people of Latin America would thus be kept in the state of twofold poverty and dependency: material poverty and spiritual poverty. In this respect, the faithful were quasi the "base" in the Marxian scheme. Similarly to the base and together with it, now the "superstructure" - namely the image of the Church and the theology which supports it - must change. It must retroactively form a new religious and political awareness of the people.

For this purpose, Boff used statements of the Council about the status of the People of God, which is treated before the hierarchy (LG 9-17): The church as "the body of many members" with Christ as the only "Head" is "at the same time holy and always in need of being purified [...] of penance and renewal" (LG 7-8). "Anointed as they are by the Holy One, [they] cannot err in matters of belief. The people of God rather "penetrates it [=faith] more deeply" (...) and applies it more fully in its life" (LG 12). According to the Council, the attributes of the church - unity, spirituality, holiness, catholicity, apostolicity - are by the Spirit of God given to all believers. They are attributes of the faithful people and not reserved for bearers of a special vocation. Boff rebuked the hierarchy for its attitude: it would ignore the religious productive force of the Christian people.


Base Communities as an Alternative Ecclesiogenesis

According to Boff, Brazil's faithful population includes many displaced, exploited people who are living in misery. They are inclined to fatalistic apathy (Freire: "culture of silence"). The Church often appeases them instead to promote the "liberation potential" in the poor, namely their humane, religious, cultural, political skills. The reason for it is the Roman Catholic understanding of the Church. An extensive essay examined the communication of the divine with the human reality and verged on Harnack's thesis that the emergence of the church out of the Jesus movement was due not to pre-Easter factors (circle of the Twelve, Supper "for all", crucifixion) but to post-Easter factors (demand for ministries, exclusivity).



This ecclesiological option seemed to be ecumenically peacemaking. It promoted the thesis of forming a new church in base communities. The Roman absolutization of the historically evolved institutions is "ideology" and "pathology". Boff thought positively of base communities as alternative structure - it would be Catholic courage to promote them. Since for historical communication the law of identity and non-identity applies, the various Christianities are only "different styles of lived Christianity." The result of non-identity is that a Christian does not know what Christianity is, but only what is disclosed by the historical communication. But the Roman Catholic Institution would "repressively" behave. It would monopolize Christianity and narrow it down to a doctrine of salvation (dogmatics), and thus it would water down the active discipleship. The original Christianity would be achieved only by "breaking" with the "ruling" ecclesial traditions. Rome's monotheistically substantiated understanding of the Church (instead of Trinitarian) would cultivate a pyramidal image of the Church: "One God-one Christ-one Representative- one Church." The charismatically structured Church would be the alternative. The endowment of the congregation with spiritual gifts (charismata) is "more fundamental than the institutional element" (hierarchical ministries, which the Apostle Paul regards also as charisms).

But ecclesiastical base communities "are invested [...] with the Word; they create symbols and rituals, and with the possibilities of the grassroots they discover anew the church" {9}. Here is real "ecclesiogenesis," i.e. the emergence of a new kind of church, "which is none other, however, than that of the Apostles and of tradition" {10}. Often without priests, plain Christians had first come together in Bible study groups. In the light of biblical faith, they had then proceeded to share scarcity, food and life experiences - encouraged by Israel's Exodus experience, prophetic social criticism, Jesus healing deeds, His sermon on the Last Judgment, His death on the cross, and by His being raised from the dead by the "Father" {11}. The desire of the Council to activate the Christian people is fulfilled. The usual separation of teaching / learning (listening) Church becomes obsolete. According to Freire's pedagogy it is possible - by means of dialogue and by trusting "in their creative power" - to enable all church members, both learners and teachers, to achieve critical (rather than naive) awareness, and thus to become able to "change this world." Boff therefore gives traditionally educated priests the advice to learn from the faithful people (as "successors of the Apostles"). Also bishops would testify that they had been converted by those ordinary people. Base communities would live in a charismatically induced, fraternal atmosphere as in the early Church. But there is also the political awareness: Every human being is a biological but at the same time also a historical, and social being. This, too, determines his/her feelings and needs for dignity, rights, justice, truth, peace. Bible texts, read by the poor, produce the knowledge that the "Sitz im Leben" of faith is "in the life" of society.

During the same period, Johann Baptist Metz brought out similar main points in his "Political Theology." Theologians should use "maieutics," i.e. the Socratic method in the church and teach the People of God by question and answer, so that it becomes a 'subject in the Church'. According to him, the Bible is the "mystical biography of the People of God", the "divine" interpretation "of its sufferings and hopes."



Their program to replace the "care and service church" with the "post-bourgeois initiative church" seems to be well received. With respect to conciliar / liberation theology, now German pastors see the XXL parishes as real opportunities for forming genuine parishes {12}.


The Conflict

Leonardo Boff's fierce attack on the hierarchy was not in vain. Conservative circles behind the generals, in the Archdiocese of Rio, denounced his "option" as "communist". They had already persecuted Freire for the use of political key-words in his literacy campaign. Rome was in a state of agitation: Groups which assumed an independent existence on ecclesiastical terrain might set themselves dangerous goals, and distort the faith. "Option for the Poor" with social change and structural transformation of the church - this was too much. Ernesto Cardenal had previously described the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua as the arrival of God's kingdom.

The self-understanding of the Catholic Church was called into question. The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded fourfold: two instructions (1984, 1986) {13}, a "notification" (March 1985), and the "order of silence" in May. The "Instruction on certain aspects of the 'Theology of Liberation'" (1984) denied the neutral usability of Marxist concepts (contaminated with the idea of class struggle). With them naïve theologians would absorb the totalitarian ideology, and reinterpret God's salvation as worldly happiness. Criticism of the Church which goes beyond the "fraternal correction [...] has to do with a challenge to the 'sacramental and hierarchical structure' of the Church, which was willed by the Lord Himself." The second instruction on "Christian Freedom and Liberation" (1986) welcomed the "new basic communities" (No. 69), praised the commitment to social justice, but confirmed the rejections of 1984 (No. 65).

After a hearing with Boff (September 1984), the notification rejected inter alia his idea that "Ecclesia semper reformanda" would also mean the changing of ecclesiastic basic structures (People's Church instead of hierarchy). It stated that Boff's thesis that the Church of Christ could also "subsist" in non-Catholic churches was contrary to the statement of the Council (LG 8). Charisma and hierarchy would be co-productive, but Boff's ecclesiological options unhealthy and dangerous. Boff accepted the "penance" because "I wanted to save the (thousands) base communities", but he did not repent. In 1991 Rome responded again:

"No travels, no lectures until 1992. According to a new critique, I had to be silent and could choose either to be sent to the Philippines or Korea. But also there I was not allowed to teach. This was too much. No. Human rights are valid also in the church, and so I left the Order." {14}



Boff got a professorship of ethics at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. As with Hans Küng, his way now led from denominational and theological issues to issues of global importance. For this he was honored in 2001 with the "Right Livelihood Award" ("Alternative Nobel Prize"). With Church and Pope he remained connected in "prophetic wrath".


Differences in Faith

Two trouble areas became apparent in the conflict. First: In opposition to Boff, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith emphasized the sacramental presence of the one-for-all sacrificed Lord in the concrete Church ("Body of Christ"). It makes the actual church structures binding, non-negotiable. They are the fruits of the authority of Christ, who continues living in her. But Boff, in "holy anger" at all holders of power, regarded the reasons for his working hypothesis as perfect evidence. He made far more attacks than the base communities needed for awakening and acceptance. The Congregation, too, overdid: It argued purely theologically (but hardly incarnationally); it acted as if the church structures were "detachment from the world," and as if Boff's critique of institutional power, which would religiously expropriate the faithful, was cognitive disorder and "equivalent to subverting religious reality."

Boff was not completely wrong, if one considers the laborious steps in this country regarding the dialogue on matters of faith between "truth-owners" and "truth-receivers". The sentence, "truth expressed in the words of faith [....] liberates" (John 8:32), and would be "the sole instrument of real communion among people of various classes and opinions", idealizes (notification). It ignores the historical imparting of liberation, which has also political aspects. According to Pope John Paul II, the since the "turnaround" (1990) recklessly active capitalism, which coerces politicians, is "still unacceptable for Christians".

Secondly: In the relation world - Church, Joseph Ratzinger complained about the zeitgeist in his post-conciliar interjection: It would praise "'hope', not 'faith'" (Ernst Bloch's "Principle of Hope", Jürgen Moltmann's "Theology of Hope"!). Not the kingdom of God is hoped-for but a human kingdom: "a rational, free, fraternal order of people who have found themselves" {15}.

The instruction from 1986 makes with Augustin a careful distinction between earthly progress and the growth of the Kingdom, which do not belong to the same order (two orders: No. 60) {16}. "Politicizing" theology à la Boff (or Metz) remained foreign to Ratzinger. The many conversions of Catholics to Evangelical Free Churches in Brazil, he ascribed to the liberation theology, "just the very poorest" had 'run away' from it {17}. In his review of 2002, he described the liberation theology as "crisis" of the Church: Due to its Marxist coinage, it had wanted to turn "the redemption into a political process" and "to do the work of God." The collapse of communism (their "Twilight of the Gods") could produce new Marxisms {18}.



He explains restrictively the plea of the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come" does not mean a human kingdom but the distinction of good and evil in imitation of Christ {19}.

According to Boff, the Kingdom of God has the character of a process. "Christianity is a religion of hope rather than of faith," without active hope it perishes "in the morass of the interests of the powerful in history" {20}. After all, also Vaticanum II describes the work of Christians for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven (LG 31; cf. GS 39). Where does the difference come from? Metz complains that the Christians (had) due to "excessive internalization of the Christian idea of suffering tolerated enormous areas of 'profane suffering'" (Preface to Gutierrez). They had the "memory of suffering" one-sidedly referred to Jesus, although Jesus makes the good deed to the least of his brothers to the (faith)criterion of the Last Judgment (Mt 25). The call to bring God to the world would be empty, where he does not mean the God whose brothers and sisters are "the others" in their suffering. Boff intensifies: South America's Church had to proclaim "integral liberation, which has to be obtained by the people themselves." Out of a mere utopia she would by her faith in Christ's resurrection become the "bright and perfect topia" (!) {21}. For Ratzinger, the human condition is per se "suffering", "grief - flight" temptation. God is "the subject of history." The unbelieving fighter against injustice morally overtaxes himself. Suffering, injustice in the world cause offence, because "justice is absent, there seems to be no God" (tenor also in the Auschwitz speech {22}) {23}.


Franciscan Spirituality Today

As if he had been liberated, Boff welcomed Pope Francis and his option for the poor in the spirit of the man from Assisi! Also Mario von Galli SJ delved into his spiritual profile {24}. What is unique is the twofold poverty, which Francis experienced as his personal vocation: short of money (poverello) and reason (pazzo). "He was the man of an intuitive experience of God." In order to be capable directly to bear witness to this, to respond directly to the love of the "Father" and to live it, he wants to avoid to be involved in secular logic, neither in that of 'give and take' (money) nor in that of 'pros and cons' (theology). Christ leads to the "Father," to the primal ground of the world. From Him all things, creatures, human beings become brothers and sisters to him - in the Canticle of Brother Sun and in other texts. Francis is inspired by a deep love of life, of living creatures. God is "lover of life" to him (Wis 11:26). He wants to bear witness of him. The "Fioretti" illustrate how his vocation drew Francis to the poor. He would not tolerate that they were rejected. He went to them, even to robbers, terrorists (Wolf of Gubbio), in order to give them what they needed, and to lead them to the heart of God - the serenity in their life. His own vocation - "to follow the life and poverty of our Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ and to persevere in it" - becomes the model for the brothers and sisters who follow him.

Boff's writings about Francis show to what extent he was influenced by him. He often quotes him as guarantor for his own activity: the commitment to the poor goes beyond all border-lines, even theological ones.



In Francis' texts the word 'heart' is found 170 times, 'mind' only once; 'mercy' 26 times, 'reason' only once; 'doing' 170 times, 'understand' five times. The Gospel, as it is lived by Francis, shows the primacy of practice. Where the heart (kind-heartedness) urges, arguments and counterarguments are silent, they literally cannot "keep pace." Franciscan spirituality is universal: "Logik des Herzens" [Logic of the Heart] (1999), "Achtsamkeit. Von der Notwendigkeit, unsere Haltung zu ändern" [Mindfulness. On the Need to Change our Attitude] (2013). In "Logic of the Heart" Boff quotes Francis' words in the hour of his death: "I leave you in the body, but I also leave you my heart." Reverence, brotherly/sisterly solidarity towards all beings would be the relevant alternative to the aggressive treatment of nature by those who want to subjugate it {25}. In the final chapter of "Cry of the Earth ..." Francis is praised as the "sum of all environmental cardinal virtues." Liberation theology saw the poor always as people with a craving also for communication, understanding of nature, spirituality, beauty {26}.

With the global response to the U.S. report "Global 2000" the issue of ecology became urgent since around 1980. The exploited poor took "the face of other victims of injustices: the Black, the Indian, the woman, the untouchable; in recent times: the earth - threatened with destruction" {27}, so the Brazilian theologian Ivone Gebara. It became more and more apparent for Boff that the earth with all living creatures and human beings was a unity, a being sui generis ("Gaia"). This was illustrated by the look of the moonwalkers on the earth: a graduated construction of atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, biosphere to noosphere (sphere of the mind) {28}. With human beings, the Earth had reached the stage of deliberate decisions, as e.g. the decision whether this child loves its mother and cares for her or finishes her off by its urge to emancipate itself from her. The search for the causes of poverty revealed a primal source: the "perverse logic" of the ruling social system. Its objective is accumulating capital. It ruins populations, exploits entire nations, and ruins eventually the nature - one ruinous logic in changing shapes. This kind of progress is both immense and inhumane. It sees only "merchandise and market". This global system generates every two days "the same number of human sacrifices" as Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The most endangered creatures on the planet are the poor, who are condemned to an early death. A "minimum of justice" must safeguard their life in dignity and extent the option for the poor to the option for the earth. More important than the future of the Church, Christianity, democracy is the future of the "superorganism" earth. Christian spirituality may teach people to see themselves as sons and daughters of the rainbow of Noah (Gen 9, 13-16). In the attitude of "mindfulness" the education for "a substantial change in relation to the system nature, the system life, and the system earth has priority {29}. Mindfulness is the universal norm {30}. The liberation of the poor is treated only briefly {31}, but it is present in ethics for the protection of the earth. In the liberation theology the protest against exploitation of the earth came to maturity.



Boff's commitment to the earth reminds of Francis' friendship with creation. It inspired already Boff when he wrote his early book on sacraments: "If God is the only Absolute, then everything that exists reveals Him [...]. Everything in the world is talking about God, his beauty, his goodness and his mystery." {32} Francis, who was in 1979 appointed "patron of ecologists" by the pope, is the paradigm per se against the spirit that corrupts the Amazon basin and the earth. The option for the poor initiated already his rebuilding the Church. It sprang from reasons of the heart, which the mind cannot grasp: fraternal, affectionate devotion to all beings, even insignificant ones (pigeons, crickets). Today, the heart has priority. The best powers of Eros spring from it. "By virtue of the heart, we approach things with empathy and sympathy." The Earth's problems of life are solvable if a warm-hearted (careful-compassionate) attitude develops, in which we handle things and people. Francis died 800 years ago and is still in the ascendant. As a primal virtue, "mindfulness", i.e. caring for all creatures, is inscribed on cosmos, evolution, and human beings. Reversion to this attitude is the only alternative, in order to save Earth and Man. Technology, economics, politics must become carefully-caring, "convivial" - modern Franciscan "pazzia" (madness).


Christianity and Cosmos

Sum of his thinking is Boff's latest work, "My Faith" {33}. In addition to criticism - all confessions are "degenerated forms" of Christianity - it offers an exciting "panentheistic" vision of Christianity in the "process of evolution". Like in Karl Rahner SJ, according to Boff God is a mystery - even for Himself. It is rooted in the Trinity. God, the free mystery, sees Himself in the mirror of creation. Since the "big bang," He gives Himself the world - but He remains the same. Inspired by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ, Boff recalls the past - shorthand like and up-to-date: the cosmogenesis up to the formation of the Earth and Life. The anthropogenesis resulted in the history of salvation with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. It is explained with the help of biblical "essentials". The Holy Spirit, in the evolutionary process quasi the female heart of God as well as of the universe, became the secret center of man - culminating in Jesus' unique gift of the Spirit. The universe evolves dialectically in the conflict between chaos - cosmos, creation - destruction, love - negative force (as in Empedocles). The "Kingdom of the Trinity" brings everything to the final synthesis - "We hope so!"

What is awkward for this vision (as in Hegel, Marx, Teilhard) is the radical evil (20th century!), and personal suffering. There is still lacking some apocalypticism - and empathy for Georg Büchner's question from the depths of the soul: "Why do I suffer?"




{1} Leonardo Boff, Kirche: Charisma und Macht. Studien zu einer streitbaren Ekklesiologie. Düsseldorf 1985 (Original edition: Igreja: Charisma e Poder. Ensaios de Eclesiologia militante. Petropolis 1981).

{2} See Medard Kehl, Kirche: "Charisma und Macht". Zum Streit um Leonardo Boff, in: GuL 58 (1985) 337-350; Anton Rotzetter, Der Fall Boff im Rahmen der franziskanischen Tradition. Mahnung und Erinnerung, in: ibid. 350-360; Wolfgang Seibel (ed.), Daß Gott den Schrei seines Volkes hört. Die Herausforderung der lateinamerikanischen Befreiungstheologie. Freiburg 1987.

{3} See Thomas Fornet-Ponse, Für eine arme Kirche! Der Katakombenpakt von 1965 als Beispiel der Entweltlichung, in: Stimmen der Zeit 230 (2011) 651-661.

{4} The "preferential Option for the Poor" as a pastoral guideline was after Vaticanum II adopted by Council of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) first in Medellin (1968) and Puebla (1979) with papal approval.

{5} Leonardo Boff, Schrei der Erde, Schrei der Armen. Düsseldorf 1996, 174.

{6} See ibid. 177.

{7} Paulo Freire / Frei Betto, Schule, die Leben heißt. Befreiungstheologie konkret. München 1986, 30 ff.; Johann Baptist Metz (Preface to the German edition: X-XII) and Gustavo Gutiérrez discuss the early dependency theory: Gustavo Gutiérrez, Theologie der Befreiung. Mainz 1973, 77-84. - Its displacement by "globalization" in the name of efficiency, competitiveness, its renewability is illustrated by Ulrich Duchrow / Franz Josef Hinkelammert, Leben ist mehr als Kapital. Oberursel 52005, Kap. VI.

{8} Ivan Illich, Fortschrittsmythen. Reinbek 1978, chap. III; the same, Klarstellungen. Pamphlete und Polemiken. Mit einer Einführung von Erich Fromm. München 1996, 41-48, 75-89.

{9} Boff, Kirche (note 1) 212.

{10} See Leonardo Boff, Die Neuentdeckung der Kirche. Basisgemeinden in Lateinamerika. Mainz 1980; the same, Aus dem Tal der Tränen ins Gelobte Land. Der Weg der Kirche mit den Unterdrückten. Düsseldorf 1982 (³1986).

{11} The Misereor Lenten veils bear witness to the spiritual productivity of reading in the Bible in parishes of poor countries. The context of their life often resembles the context of the poor in the Bible.

{12} Johann Baptist Metz, Glaube in Geschichte und Gesellschaft. Studien zu einer praktischen Fundamentaltheologie. Mainz ³1980, 120-135 ("§ 8: Kirche und Volk. Vom vergessenen Subjekt des Glaubens"); the same, Jenseits bürgerlicher Religion. Reden über die Zukunft des Christentums. München 1980; Andreas Unfried, XXL-Pfarreien: Abgesang oder Neuanfang?, in: Publik-Forum 2013/2, 38 f. (book recommendation).

{13} See the Instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on certain aspects of the "Theology of Liberation" of 6 August 1984, the Notification on the book “Church: Charism and Power” by Father Leonardo Boff O.F.M. of 11 März 1985, and the Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation.

{14} Quoted from an interview during his guest semester in Heidelberg: Marianne Burneleit / Klaus Zedtwitz, Mit Achtsamkeit für die Zukunft der Erde. Leonardo Boff zur Befreiungstheologie, zur Zukunft der Menschheit und zu seiner Situation in der Kirche, in: "Kirche auf dem Weg" (Juli 2001), 1-3.

{15} Joseph Ratzinger, Glaube und Zukunft. München 1970, 99. - Vaticanum II gave more attention to God's "signs of the times": See LG 4, 11, 38, 40, 42, 44.

{16} Augustinus, Compared with the eternal bliss, earthly happiness is only "misery" (miseria): De civ. Dei XIX, 10.

{17} Joseph Kardinal Ratzinger, Salz der Erde. Christentum und katholische Kirche an der Jahrtausendwende. München 41996, 156.



{18} The same, Glaube - Wahrheit - Toleranz. Das Christentum und die Weltreligionen. Freiburg ³2004, 93-111. - The revolution without bloodshed on the "street" in der GDR, supported by many Protestant Christians is left out of consideration by Ratzinger.

{19} See Joseph Ratzinger / Benedikt XVI., Jesus von Nazareth. vol. 1. Freiburg 2007.

{20} Leonardo Boff, Mein Glaube. Christsein in einem neuen Zeitalter. Freiburg 2013, 112 f. - The original Portuguese title reads, literally translated: "Christianity. The minimum of the Minimum".

{21} See Boff, Aus dem Tal (note 10) 62-65".

{22} See Benedikt XVI., Wo war Gott? Die Rede in Auschwitz. Freiburg 2006.

{23} See Tiemo Rainer Peters / Claus Urban (ed.), Ende der Zeit? Die Provokation der Rede von Gott. Mainz 1999, 50-55 (Ratzinger-Metz); about Ratzinger's view see Klaus P. Fischer, Schicksal in Theologie und Philosophie. Darmstadt 2008, 189-196.

{24} Mario von Galli, Gelebte Zukunft: Franz von Assisi. Luzern 81977, 82-162 ("Poverty - the Future of the Church").

{25} See Leonardo Boff, Die Logik des Herzens. Wege zu neuer Achtsamkeit. Düsseldorf 1999, 181 f.

{26} "Beauty" means education, culture, legal system, a good health care and social system. The mass demonstrations in the country (during summer 2013) signal that hunger also to the ruling Workers' Party; See the Boff-Kolumne "Menschenmengen auf der Straße - Wie sind sie zu interpretieren? vom 5. 7. 2013, in:

{27} La Croix, 14. / 15. 5. 2011, 13: "Où en est la théologie de la libération?"

{28} See Boff, Schrei (note 5) 169 ff.

{29} Leonardo Boff, Achtsamkeit. Von der Notwendigkeit, unsere Haltung zu änderen. München 2013, 9.

{30} ibid. 13.

{31} See ibid. 186-191.

{32} Leonardo Boff, Kleine Sakramentenlehre. Düsseldorf 1976 (182010), 45.

{33} See note 20.


Link to 'Public Con-Spiration for-with-of the Poor'