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Liberation theologian Leonardo Boff

March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A laicized priest and liberation theologian who was widely credited as a “theologian of reference” for the Amazon synod has declared that the coronavirus is Gaia’s retaliation for humanity’s mistreatment of the earth.

Earlier this week, Leonardo Boff, 81, published an article for a Brazilian magazine called A Terra e Redonda (“The Earth is Round”) in which he gave a quasi-spiritual environmental reflection on the pandemic that has killed more than 10,000 people since it was first detected in China in November 2019.  

“Not without reason did James Lovelock, who formulated the theory of the Earth as a living, self-regulating superorganism, Gaia, write a book (called) Gaia's Revenge (Intrínseca, 2006),” Boff, who is a strong supporter of Pope Francis, wrote in his article “The Origins of Coronavirus”.  

“I believe that current diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, SARS, ebola, measles, the current coronavirus, and the widespread degradation of human relations, marked by deep inequality/social injustice and a lack of minimal solidarity, are a reprisal for Gaia for the offenses we inflict on her without interruption.”  

Boff did not go so far as to say that an anthropomorphized planet Earth was wreaking her fury upon the human race but suggested that “the Great Mother” is retaliating against us for polluting her. Boff also suggested that COVID-19 has erupted in the dirtier regions of the planet. 

“It is not without reason that the virus has erupted there where there is most pollution,” he stated.  

“I would not say, like J. Lovelock, that it is ‘Gaia's revenge’ because she, as the Great Mother, does not take revenge, but gives us severe signs that she is ill (typhoons, melting of the polar ice caps, droughts and floods, etc.) and, finally, because we do not learn the lesson, she makes a reprisal against us like the diseases mentioned,” he wrote. 

“It is a reaction to violent human action.”

In Boff’s article, he saved most of his sympathy for the planet, sparing little for sick and dying human beings, as he continued to write as though Earth were a super-powerful, female entity. The priest quoted naturalist Théodore Monod, who wrote that the annihilation of the human race “would be a just price for our follies and our cruelties.” 

However, Boff is not opposed to governments looking for vaccines to treat the sick, as the pandemic may mean “a human tragedy” with countless victims. However, he does not believe that vaccines will be enough to keep the Earth happy with us.  

“But the Earth will not be content with these little gifts,” he wrote.  

“She begs for a different attitude towards her: to respect her rhythms and limits, to care for her sustainability and to feel that we are more than sons and daughters of Mother Earth, but even (part of) the very Earth that feels, thinks, loves, worships and cares,” he continued. 

“Just as we care, we must care for her. She does not need us. We need her.”

Boff theorized that Mother Earth “may no longer want us on her face” and predicted that she will “keep spinning through outer space, but without us for we have been guilty of ecocide and geocide.” 

The elderly theologian, who achieved a kind of fame in the 1970s for his leading role in Marx-inspired liberation theology, is now believed to have influenced Pope Francis. His Earth-centered philosophy was swiftly detected in the pontiff’s encyclical Laudato Si’.

In a 2016 interview, Boff told a German magazine that the Argentinian pontiff is “one of us. He has turned Liberation Theology into a common property of the Church. And he has widened it.” 

“Whoever speaks today of the poor, also has to speak of the earth, because it, too, is now being plundered and abused. ‘To hear the cry of the poor,’ that means to hear the cry of the animals, the forests, of the whole tortured creation,” he continued. 

“The whole earth cries. Also, says the pope – and he thus quotes one of the titles of one of my books – we have to hear simultaneously the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth. And, for sure, both need to be liberated. I myself have dealt in the recent past with this widening of the Liberation Theology. And that (this environmental dimension) is also the fundamentally new aspect in Laudato Si.”  

Boff also revealed that Pope Francis had reached out to him for help in writing his environmental encyclical.

“He asked me for material for the sake of Laudato Si. I have given him my counsel and sent to him some of what I have written. Which he has also used. Some people told me they were thinking while reading: ‘Wait, that is Boff!’” 

In the same interview, Boff called Cardinal Raymond Burke the “Donald Trump of the Catholic Church” and thanked God that he had been “neutralized.”