New York: Crossroad, 1985. First Edition. Octavo, original brown cloth, original dust jacket. Fine. Item #1115
"THIS BOOK WILL MOST CERTAINLY BE UNDERSTOOD BY THOSE WHO LOVE THE CHURCH WARTS AND ALL"
First edition of Leonardo Boff's Church: Charism and Power—the first English translation of the Brazilian theologian's controversial prescription for renewal in the Church. Developing an ecclesiology based on a new pastoral model of "liberation from below," Liberation Theology arose in the seminaries after the Second Vatican Council. "Liberation theology, which has roots both in Europe and in the developing world, seeks the social liberation of peoples now alive and does not necessarily require belief in particular political or economic theory" (Robert Royal). First published in Brazil in 1981, and translated from the Portuguese by John W. Dierchsmeier, with Boff's brief, undated Preface ("Petropolis, Rio de Jaeiro"), promising to "take on certain challenges, raise criticisms, make suggestions for a new model of the Church, and reflect on them in a radical way."
The book alarmed the Vatican and brought the attention of Pope John Paul II. Asked about Liberation Theology on a trip to Mexico City in 1979, John Paul replied "Ah, liberation theology. But which liberation theology?" (Royal). "The pope's fierce anti-Communism meant he could not abide any suggestion of Marxist analysis in addressing society's ills. He therefore did his best to suppress Liberation Theology as advocated by the Peruvian priest, Gustavo Gutierrez, the Brazilian Leonardo Boff, and others like them in Latin America" (John W. O'Malley). Published without approbations, but with an Editor's Note (placed before Boff's preface) carefully describing the early steps in the Vatican response. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger summoned Boff to Rome in 1984 for an interview with the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and subsequently issued "Instruction on Certain Aspects of Liberation Theology." Father Boff was eventually silenced and later left the Franciscan order. Royal. A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century. O'Malley. A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present.