Monday, June 27, 2011

Sr. Teresa Forcades: "God isn't the one who denies women access to the priesthood"

La Vanguardia

Barcelona. (EFE) -- Teresa Forcades, the Catalan doctor and Benedictine nun who became popular for her criticism of the pharmaceutical industry because of the influenza A epidemic, vindicates the role of women in the Catholic Church in her book "La teología feminista en la historia" ("Feminist theology in history", Editorial Fragmenta, 2011), which has just been published in Spanish.

The work, which was published in Catalan by Fragmenta in 2007, vindicates a score of women, such as Isabel de Villena, Teresa de Jesús, María de Ágreda and Anna M. van Schurmann, whose lives the author takes a look at as she asks "why they have been so forgotten."

In her book, Forcades (Barcelona, 1966) rescues "the history of women who have experienced the confrontation between the public discourse about God and their own experience of God" and puts her new work in the context of "liberation theology".

According to the Benedictine nun, who has degrees in medicine from the University of Barcelona (1990) and theology from the Faculty of Theology of Catalonia, "feminist theology is a critical theology."

"The goal of critical theology is twofold: to bring out the aspects of received interpretation that generate contradictions, and to try to offer theologically consistent alternative interpretations to overcome them," according to the critical nun.

Forcades acknowledges that "given that these contradictions often come from situations of discrimination or injustice, critical theologies are also called theologies of liberation, and feminist theology is a form of critical or liberation theology."

The nun explains that "the path of the feminist theologian is, therefore, necessarily a path of struggle and vindication, but this doesn't mean it has to be just a path of struggle and vindication."

In her book, Teresa Forcades argues that, "God created women and men equal in dignity" and that "He isn't the one who thinks women are less spiritual than men."

She also argues that "God created women and men with the same ability to intervene in the public sphere, and that He isn't the one who denies women access to politics, paid professions or the priesthood."

She also states that God created both genders "equal in the ability to love and intervene in the domestic sphere, and that He isn't the one who allocated household chores and caring for children, the sick and the elderly, to women."

Forcades, who devoted her doctoral thesis in public health to alternative medicine and her doctoral thesis in theology to the concept of persons, has published two other books, "Trinitat, avui" ("The Trinity today", Abadía de Montserrat, 2005) and "Los crímenes de las grandes compañías farmacéuticas" (Cristianisme i Justicia, 2006, published in English as Crimes and Abuses of the Pharmaceutical Industry).

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