Carlos RV Cirne Lima (1931-2020)

Carlos Zilio, PRATO, 1972, industrial ink on porcelain, ø 24cm


Commentary on the edition of the Complete Works of the Gaucho Philosopher

Amidst so much sad news, in these pandemic times, I receive this cold Wednesday (01/07) one more, the departure of Carlos Roberto Velho Cirne Lima, one of the greatest contemporary philosophers. He turned 89 on June 1st and still managed to see all of his work gathered on a website [], the tireless work of his life partner Maria Tomaselli.

For almost a year, I had the great honor and pleasure of working as an editorial assistant for bookseller Ivete Keil, from Editora Escolhas, in the edition of Complete work by Professor Cirne Lima. The first meeting, in the cozy apartment on Rua Erico Veríssimo was passionate. We were received, Ivete and I, by Maria Tomaselli, a great plastic artist who illustrated the covers of the five volumes. It was a very pleasant afternoon in the company of this couple. Listening to their stories enchanted me.

Since his student days, when he proudly recounted the years in which he was a Jesuit priest, a colleague of Pope Benedict XVI (at that time just the young Joseph Ratzinger), and a student of the theologian Karl Rahner, one of the great exponents of the early work of the Second Vatican Council, and his disagreements with Rahner and Ratzinger regarding the concept of God, which made him decide to leave the Society of Jesus and continue his academic career in philosophy. Or else he remembered his work at the old Borregar in Guaíba [first name of Aracruz] or the years he and Maria spent traveling from one place to another, fleeing the military, during the dictatorship. All stories told with a lot of humor.

The editorial work was not the easiest, hours and hours of editing required a lot of attention, but the contact with this philosophical work taught me a lot. In the presentation text of the complete work, which I was invited to write, I highlighted “Carlos Roberto Velho Cirne Lima is one of the greatest contemporary Brazilian philosophers. the arrival of your Complete work it is a breath of life and lucidity in a world scenario of chaos and humanitarian crisis. What are the solutions? We can cite several, whether political, economic or social. But, without a doubt, the main one is more Ethics, more Philosophy”. Today rereading could not be more current. Yes, in the midst of so many uncertainties, deaths, despair, hatred, we need to rescue the most essential values ​​of human beings. And, I'm sure, Cirne Lima's work has a lot to tell us about this.

He also highlighted the presentation, “the books deal with philosophical issues from an unprecedented perspective, exposing an entire historical context of Brazil and Rio Grande do Sul, without any prejudice or xenophobia. His work shows the evolution of the philosophy that began as the Catholic neo-Thomist philosophy of the Jesuits of São Leopoldo and Anchieta, inherited from his father, and evolves into a contemporary position that is pantheistic, universalist”.

Cirne used to say that his philosophy was not contemporary in the usual sense, because there are many people who call contemporary philosophy only that which has been mathematized. “Many ex-Thomists went to a mathematical philosophy. They write books on formulas, either there's a god or there isn't, but it's all in formula, it's the philosophy they call “analytical”. It is this philosophy that students and young teachers learn today. Catholic philosophy, on the other hand, lost more and more influence, almost disappearing. With this, Pentecostal philosophies were born, which are of American origin. So, Pentecostals have a god, they have a religion, they have a whole religious structure, a legal structure, churches, but they don't have a philosophy. They don't have philosophical problems, they don't have doubts, doubts are religious, to believe or not to believe.” This helps us a lot to understand Pentecostal churches today.

*Katia Marko is a journalist.


Carlos RV Cirne Lima. Complete work. Available at []
Originally published on the website Brazil of Fact.


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