Faith and Freedom
December 2016, Polity
Teresa Forcades, Spanish Benedictine nun, theologian, physician and political activist, is one of Europe’s leading radical thinkers. Marrying her Catholic faith with a passion for social justice, she came to prominence for her eloquent condemnation of the abuses of some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies. She has gone on to found a leading Catalonian anti-capitalist independence movement and is one of the leading voices in the world today against the injustices of capitalism and the patriarchy of modern society and of her own church.
In Faith and Freedom, her first book written in English, she skilfully weaves together her personal experiences with a reflection on morality, religion and politics to give a trenchant account of how the Christian faith can be a dynamic force for radical change. Placing herself in a powerful tradition of Catholic social doctrine and Liberation Theology, she applies her perspective to the issues most precious to her: freedom and love, social justice and political engagement, public health, feminism, faith and forgiveness.
Structured around the five canonical hours that give its peculiar rhythm to the monastic day, this book is a thoughtful and bold polemic against the exploitation and injustice of the status quo. Its call for liberty, love and justice will resonate with anyone disaffected with a savage and destructive political and economic system that marginalises and murders the poor and undermines the very fabric of social life.
MATINS: LOVE AND FREEDOM
the biblical genesis and the Enuma Elish / creation vs. emanation / tzimtzum and perichorese / Augustine’s notion of freedom
LAUDS: SOCIAL JUSTICE
liberation theology / the case of Guatemala / a critique of capitalism / my political experience
SEXT: PUBLIC HEALTH
public health systems / privatization and the WHO / the undue influence of pharmaceutical companies / medicalization
my experience of femininity and of feminism / the mother as object of desire / sexism in today’s society / feminist theology
faith and reason / the gospel of Judas / Gertrude of Helfta / María Jesús of Ágreda
the testimony of a monastic sister / Lacan’s subject vs. the Christian person / Jesus’ parables / forgiveness and freedom
Tina Beattie, University of Roehampton
Sister Teresa's meditations, gracefully woven out of the daily Benedictine cycle of prayer, confront some of the most profound personal challenges of contemporary life. Let noone say that the religious life is a-political: Sister Teresa combines fearless intellectual analysis, radical resistance to injustice, and an unwavering commitment to the mystery and power of Christian forgiveness.
Sarah Coakley, University of Cambridge
Eye-opening and invigorating, Faith and Freedom demonstrates the power of faith combined with inquiry.