Foreword Reviews

Faith and Freedom

Eye-opening and invigorating, Faith and Freedom demonstrates the power of faith combined with inquiry.

In an age of Hawaiian shirt-wearing pastors, a “relatable” Jesus, and a church that struggles to become more relevant, Faith and Freedom is a refreshing return to the ideological roots of the Catholic Church. Teresa Forcades, a Benedictine nun and one of Europe’s leading radical thinkers, challenges prejudices against women, capitalism, the LGBTQ population, and the way God is worshipped. Breathtaking in its elegance, this is a notable work by an exemplary writer.

Forcades’s first work in English is divided into six parts—one for each of the five traditional canonical hours, from matins to vespers, plus compline, a final chapter on forgiveness and reconciliation. The writing is clear and strong, and the first-person voice creates a sense of trust as Forcades relates theology to her personal experiences. “I do not have faith in a book,” she says. “I honor the Bible … but I do not expect the text of the Bible to obstruct my thinking, or be a substitute for it.” Personal responsibility for her faith led Forcades to question injustice, and her writing challenges others to do the same.

Forcades came to prominence for her public condemnation of the pharmaceutical industry. She is now one of the world’s leading voices against the injustices of capitalism, the patriarchy, and the Catholic Church. For Forcades, the personal and the political are inextricable, and her careful examination of both is inspiring and challenging.

Simultaneously a call to action, a lesson on church history, and an exploration of modern power structures, Faith and Freedom is on par with Jean Vanier’s On Community. Yet rather than coming across as a bold manifesto, this humble book is always grounded in spiritual truth in order to promote understanding. For Forcades, it’s simple: “The Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila put it even more plainly: Entre pucheros anda el Senor (God walks amidst the kitchen pots).”

Eye-opening and invigorating, Faith and Freedom demonstrates the power of faith combined with inquiry.

Reviewed by Claire Foster

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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