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 reflections that
sought to articulate indignance toward misery and marginalization
with discourse, which later generated the Christian faith 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 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
In the chair of Galileo
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
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