Anti-establishment Benedictine nun enters politics

An anti-establishment Spanish nun, who is also a Harvard-educated doctor in public health, is moving into the world of politics.

Sr Teresa Forcades, from the Benedictine monastery of Monserrat near Barcelona, is running in the next Catalan election in September.

The vote has been dubbed a de facto referendum on independence from Spain.

Sr Teresa is the number one candidate on the ballot list of Procés Constituent a Catalunya, a grouping she helped found two years ago.

It calls for the founding of an independent Catalan state with a nationalised banking system and energy sector, no armed forces, no immigration laws, payment for parents who stay at home and on-demand abortion, reported the Sunday Telegraph.

Sr Teresa is awaiting permission from the local bishop for her exclaustration, a period spent outside the convent or monastery which can last up to three years.

The sisters at the monastery have agreed to let her be in politics this time.

She sees independence from Spain as the only way for Catalonia to escape what she describes as “the stifling orthodoxies of today’s neoliberal society”.

Sr Teresa, described as one of Catalonia’s most prominent anti-establishment voices, has a Twitter account with nearly 35,000 followers.

Her YouTube videos, in which she explains the ills of “big pharma” and global capitalism, have been viewed by hundreds of thousands.

She admits some people have asked “how can you have a nun running the country?”

“A lot of people are still very anticlerical and with the history we had with Franco in power, it is understandable that there are many progressive people who have always seen the Church as the enemy,” she said.

The fact that she is consistently critical of the Church from within may have helped boost her credibility as a politician aiming to bring about radical reform, she added.

In a 2013 interview, she argued for women priests and for leaving contraception and abortion to individuals’ consciences.

“The Roman Catholic Church, which is my church, is misogynist and patriarchal in its structure. That needs to be changed as quickly as possible,” she said then.


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