Eduardo Echeverria About Eduardo Echeverria

Eduardo Echeverria is professor of philosophy and systematic theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. He earned his doctorate in philosophy from the Free University in Amsterdam and his STL from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. He is the author of many publications, most recently Revelation, History, and Truth: A Hermeneutics of Dogma (2018), and Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II, 2nd edition, revised and expanded (2019).


  1. What a pity this had to be presented in such a convoluted fashion

  2. Avatar D. Guidotti says:

    Great article. Thank you.

    It seems to me that the very fact of needing to refrain from considering significant parts of Pope Francis’s new encyclical such as his views of a free market system, the nature and extent of the ecological crisis, and the science of climate change, is indicative of the messaging problem with today’s Catholic Church – clarity, simplicity, and especially personalization i.e. making the message relevant on an individual moral level.

    Yes the encyclical is directed at the Bishops but shouldn’t it be written in language that most people can immediately grasp? At least the main points? I suspect if you lined up five people and asked them each to identify the main message of this encyclical most would have a difficult time because there really is no real main message that jumps out. Most would probably mention climate change but is this really the main message? Even the title of the encyclical is unclear. Why?

    Also shouldn’t the encyclical have something morally strategic to say? Something personal and spiritual? Isn’t the real purpose of the Catholic Church, as set forth by Jesus Christ Himself, to evangelize and convert the world in order to save souls from going to hell? This encyclical certainly touched on some important moral areas such as abortion and greed but it was brief, low key, and trivial in comparison to the overall encyclical content. Why? This highlights another big problem with today’s Church. It has its moral priorities mixed up.

    For example, given all of today’s major religious and moral problems within the Catholic Church and worldwide it is difficult to understand why Pope Francis would pick climate change as a priority and key theme for his very first solo encyclical, and why he apparently decided to do this within weeks of him becoming Pope. It must have been on his mind well before he became Pope but what does good stewardship of planet earth and improving the social and economic lot the poor and needy have to do with spirituality, holiness, and saving souls?

    Also why would the Pope join forces with climate change lobby groups (UN, government, corporate, and academia) knowing that these groups look down on and despise the Church and its moral teachings, are proponents of forced population control (using contraceptives and abortion as methods), favor forced wealth re-distribution, and are openly hostile and closed minded to all debate and towards anyone who disagrees with their climate change thesis? Groups that are all reaping immense amounts of wealth, power, and prestige from this issue and where there is already evidence of corruption, collusion, and falsification of the data.

    This makes no sense at all except in the context of the Pope’s ideological endorsement of the “theology of poverty” and his false assumption that regulating climate change will benefit the poor and lift up poor countries. It won’t. While noble goals, solving the world’s poverty problems are primarily secular goals that affect only material wants. This one dimensional emphasis on the plight of the poor wrongly elevates their material needs into moral imperatives without any regard to their spiritual needs. This is a moral distortion of the Church’s prime directive to evangelize, convert, and save souls. Raising wages and living conditions or improving the earth’s ecology will not eliminate sin and the results of sin. The net result of this moral distortion is a shift in the strategic focus of the Church’s work from the heavenly to the secular. Under this “theology of poverty” scenario individual salvation becomes one’s standard of living, holiness becomes wage level, and life everlasting becomes here and now material comforts.

    • Avatar georgette lee says:

      Thank you. Your comment is so well said. I find some of what the Pope says disturbing. I wish the Pope was Not in the same camp with these secular world government people.

  3. As always, astute and insightful, my friend.

    While I can think of more pressing subjects for an encyclical, such as one that would consider the recrudescent threat of militant Islam against Christians, I can also see a need for a theological consideration of the issues you isolate in this reflection. Others, like Francis A. Schaeffer, have considered the issues of ecology and environment within the context of a theology of man’s place in nature as well. The Pope’s document clearly contains a lot of deeply-considered resources for plumbing even more deeply the issues raised by someone like Schaeffer.

    It’s too bad that you couldn’t have written the encyclical for him. Why? Because the message of the encyclical is nearly lost by the medium in which it is conveyed. While there are, as you’ve said elsewhere, beautiful passages in it, the work as a whole is nearly derailed by the issues you choose not to address in your present reflection. Why the message is cluttered by these other issues (that I would call distracting) I am not sure. Perhaps it was the fact that a number of different hands played a role in drafting the document.

    Regardless, these “distracting” issues make it look like the Vatican is either helping to lay the groundwork for a world government in which it hopes to play a role, or being used as a propaganda tool for the eco-fascists intent on doing so. The theology is flawless, but I fear that’s not the message communicated by the medium (pace Marshall MacLuhan).


  1. […] The Theological Mind of Laudato Si’ Eduardo Echeverra, Homiletic & Pastoral Review In this article, I consciously refrain from considering the parts of Pope Francis’s new Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ (hereafter LS) that have been the most contentiously received, namely: his views of a free market system, the nature and extent of the ecological crisis, the science of climate change, Francis’s alleged anti-modernism, and apocalyptic view of history, and so forth. I am concerned that the reception of this encyclical threatens to miss the forest for the trees, as it were. Hence, my approach to the encyclical is to consider the theological mind that informs its framework. […]