Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Teresa Forcades 1: A new book about Simone Weil and Dorothy Day

Lately, I've been feeling like this blog should be titled "All Teresa, All the Time" but there's just a lot to report right now, starting with...

In addition to the Spanish edition of Sr. Teresa Forcades' summary of her political views on various issues -- Está en nuestras manos ("It's in our hands" -- Dau, 2015) -- which we covered in the last blog post, Sr. Teresa will have a new book coming out this month in both Catalan and Spanish about Catholic writers and social activists Simone Weil and Dorothy Day. The Catalan edition, titled Per amor a la justícia. Dorothy Day i Simone Weil is published by Viena Edicions. The Spanish version, which will be officially launched in Madrid on June 16th, is titled Por amor a la justicia. Dorothy Day y Simone Weil and will be published by Ediciones HOAC. HOAC, by the way, stands for Hermandad Obrera de Acción Católica, as in Catholic Action, and Spanish speaking progressive Catholics owe it to themselves to check out HOAC's various titles.

According to the publicity blurb for the book launch:

"In this book, Teresa Forcades brings us close to two women who faced without subterfuge the task of giving meaning to their lives, who took responsibility for them and conceived them as lives in the service of justice.

Dorothy Day and Simone Weil's Christian experience is deep and both write about it beautifully, passionately, and with surprising originality. Since their childhoods, so different, they were sensitive to Christian religious things, even though they declared themselves atheists in their adolescence and early youth and criticized Church institutions for favoring the privileged and leaving the dispossessed to their fate, particularly the working class. In their youth, they experienced deep personal encounters with Jesus, which marked a turning point in their lives. Both put human work at the center of their spirituality.

Day and Weil combined political involvement and mystical experience without "mixing them" (a danger of fundamentalism, whether religious or secular) and without separating them (as do those who think faith is one thing and business something quite distinct). Their testimony continues to challenge us, both the light and the shadows.

In the course set out in their lives and thinking, one can highlight the centrality of their work experience and their relationship with the labor movement, the liberating meaning they give to manual labor, their different experiences of Church, love and freedom based on their womanhood, their identification with the Jesus of the excluded, their different positions on pacifism, ending with their involvement in politics and their vision of the revolution.

Is it possible to separate the experience of the Christian God -- the experience of Jesus -- from public social commitment to justice? Day and Weil's answer is a resounding "No." Their public commitment doesn't advocate violence or seek to impose their beliefs -- it is grounded in working for social justice and nonpartisan political involvement from below, sharing the life of workers and the excluded.

This is a book written with great clarity, which allows us to draw closer to the fullest extent to these two women passionate about Jesus the Worker and justice. It is an especially crucial book for anyone who today feels the passion for justice against inhumane Capitalism."

Now I'm waiting for my copy to arrive from Spain...

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