Saturday, March 15, 2014

Teresa Forcades: Banned in LA

Yesterday, we were pleased to bring you the good news that Benedictine nun and theologian Sr. Teresa Forcades would be doing a book signing in a bookstore in the Los Angeles area. She still is, as far as we know.

Now the bad news: That is all Sr. Forcades will be doing. Yesterday, she went on Ruben Luengas' program "Hablando Claro" and told the reporter that she had been scheduled to speak at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' Congress on Religious Education this weekend but that at the last minute, just a couple of weeks before the event, her participation was cancelled by conference organizers. Luengas spoke to Sr. Edith Prendergrast, director of the Office of Religious Education for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who told him, "We spoke with her and decided that her topic, which was very good, might be misinterpreted since she comes from the theological world...She could be caught in a situation where common people couldn't understand someone with strong theological baggage."

Excuse me??? If your jaw is dropping at this response, which is as insulting to the Catholic laity of this country as it is to Sr. Forcades herself, you are not alone. As of this morning, Sr. Forcades was still listed as a speaker on the Religious Education Congress website, but with a terse indication "No longer attending Congress 2014". She would have given two presentations. The first, "The Light of Feminist Theology in History" will now be given by Olivia Cornejo, Director of Institute for Pastoral Ministries of the Diocese of Orange, California. The second, "Is God acting in the world? The Providence Factor", will be presented by Lupita Vital Cruz, Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose. Obviously, the topics are not the problem since there is no mention that these have changed.

Blacklisting and censorship are ugly. They are even uglier when they are perpetrated by the Church and uglier still when perpetrated by the Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America, a country which prides itself on tolerance of diverse views and freedom to express them that is enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. It's a shame that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles can't trust the faithful to listen to Sr. Forcades and form their own opinions for or against her theological perspective. But, as we have always told our readers, the best defense against this kind of ecclesial censorship is to actively support the person who is being censored. In this case, we would encourage readers, as a protest and -- what the heck? -- even if you don't speak Spanish, to buy a copy of Sr. Forcades' La Teologia Feminista en la Historia (Fragmento, 2011). It's usually available on the Spanish Amazon site, although right now they're showing only one in stock with more on the way.

Meanwhile, even though she isn't welcome in the mainstream Church, Sr. Forcades is welcome on the political left. To end on a note of good news, on her way back to Europe, Sr. Forcades will be stopping in Baltimore, Maryland. On Tuesday night, March 18, at 6:00 pm, she will be speaking at an event sponsored by Red Emma's in their Free School Classroom, 30 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201. Red Emma's says the nun will be talking about the indignados movement in Spain and that she "would very much like to meet with local radical activists." Fortunately, not everyone is afraid of the "big, bad nun."

NOTE: You can listen to Sr. Teresa's full one hour interview with Ruben Luengas here (Mp3 file in Spanish)

Selected excerpts from the interview are included in this video:


  1. Please sign and share this petition in support of Teresa Forcades

  2. I inadvertently deleted the version of Yvette's comment that included a link to the petition. Here is the link to the petition which calls for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to allow Sr. Forcades to participate in future Religious Education congresses: