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Pope Francis
The Legacy of Vatican II

Eduardo J. Echeverria

Newly released, revised and expanded Second Edition!

Christians, some Catholics and Protestants alike, have tended to use Francis’s pronouncements to justify the correctness of their own viewpoints on Vatican Council II and other theological matters. Professor Echeverria has read widely in Francis, and gets at where Francis really stands with respect to Vatican II. He does a thorough job of drawing on Francis’s own pre-papal and papal writings, talks, and sermons to discover and document the continuity in Francis’s thought with the council.

Additionally, Echeverria compares Francis’s discourse with that of his papal predecessors in the era since Vatican II and draws heavily on the Vatican II documents and the theology of doctrinal development stemming from the First Vatican Council and embraced by Vatican II. Not left out is the modern ecumenical movement from both the Reformed and Catholic side.

A text made for seminarians and divinity students, this book is also for those who wish to understand the ‘real’ Pope Francis and his legacy of Vatican II.


Since the beginning of his pontificate on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis has been a controversial leader of the Roman Catholic Church. From his comments about the possible salvation of atheists to his handling of the sexual scandal within the Church, Francis has both invigorated and exasperated Roman Catholics and Protestants alike. Indeed, some (many?) wonder to what extent this pope faithfully adheres to and promotes traditional Catholic theology and practice. Hence, we have need for a second edition of Eduardo Echeverria’s Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II. With deep respect for and adherence to the Church’s Tradition and Magisterium, Echeverria contends that “the faith of the Church and the concomitant unity of faith and communion is endangered by the confusion generated by Pope Francis in specific teachings.” This book is a must read for those who are concerned by such endangerment.

Gregg R. Allison
Professor of Christian Theology
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ky.

A responsible evaluation of the sometimes controversial statements on doctrinal matters made by Pope Francis requires deep knowledge of Catholic theology and of the pope’s own thought, respect for the person and office of the Holy Father, and the intellectual honesty seriously to grapple with the difficult questions raised by some of the statements in question. Few scholars meet all of these conditions, but Eduardo Echeverria certainly does. This revised version of his im- portant study of Pope Francis is most welcome and urgently needed.

Edward Feser
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Pasadena City College, Calif.

Read the Book Review»

Format:6.14x9.21” B&W soft cover
Size:456 pages
Publication:9 May 2019
Price:$ 34.98 USD


As your introduction to Pope Francis, an excerpt is available for you to sample on your iPad/iBook or any other ePub reader. [Download free ePub reader for Windows »]
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More Endorsements for Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II

Eduardo Echeverria provides a needed critical assessment of Pope Francis’s pontificate to this date, one that is balanced and rooted in a lively faith and deep knowledge of the documents of Vatican II.

Patrick Lee
John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics
Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio

If Christianity is not a revealed religion, it is a false religion. That is why Christians must always “contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints,” a task at which Eduardo Echeverria excels. Here he offers a penetrating analysis of the contending interpretations of the II Vatican Council that is faithful to what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all orthodox Catholics but also employs the best of contemporary theological insight to assist the reader in understanding all that the Church believes and teaches to be revealed by God.

Fr. Jay Scott Newman
President, Center for Evangelical Catholicism
Pastor, St Mary’s Catholic Church, Greenville, S.C.

Echeverria takes on the hard task of offering a ‘filial correction’ of Pope Francis’ approach to the immutability of church dogma, yet he does it in a spirit of faithfulness and with a hermeneutics of charity. His arguments are saturated with the wisdom of tradition, deeply set in scripture, and enriched by ecumenical receptivity.

Dr. Adonis Vidu
Professor of Theology
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Mass.

More than five years after his election, the person and the pontificate of Pope Francis remains for many an enigma. What is one to make of his many varied writings, addresses, and the like, on a vast array of topics? Answering this question requires that one be extremely well-read in the ever-growing body of writings and commentaries on Pope Francis. But it also requires a vast and penetrating knowledge of the history of Christian doctrine, philosophical and theological acuity, serene objectivity, and intellectual honesty. The reader will find all of this in Eduardo Echeverria’s Pope Francis, The Legacy of Vatican II. As he takes the reader through the most crucial topics of this pontificate, such as the permanence and meaning of truth, mercy and justice, marriage, ecumenism, and interreligious dialogue, Echeverria takes up the christian tradition in a Catholic and ecumenical perspective. He discusses, in a bold but compelling and fact-based manner, Pope Fran- cis’s contribution to the current doctrinal confusion regarding the claims of the Catholic faith. By offering such a clear analysis of the philosophical and theological foundations of the current pontificate, Echeverria has done an immense service for the Church and the Christian faith, a service which few theologians are able to do. The book should serve as the “state of the question” for this most important matter confronting any Christian community.

Jörgen Vijgen
Tilburg School of Catholic Theology
Tilburg University (Netherlands)

For the last fifty years, the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council has been at the center of catholic intellectual life. in recent years, the enigmatic papacy of Pope Francis has been the object of similar hermeneutical debates. in this book, Eduardo Echeverria provides important keys for understanding the pontificate of Francis and its relationship to the legacy of Vatican II. Echeverria penetratingly unearths the philosophical presuppositions of the Pope’s thought. In this substantially revised second edition, he convincingly argues that the Council’s legacy is essentially contested in Francis’s papacy.

Dr. Mats Wahlberg
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Umeå University, (Sweden)

Endorsements for the First Edition…

This greatly needed book frankly admits that at times the man Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is now Pope Francis, shoots from the hip, expressing himself in ways which discourage faithful Catholics even while attempting to encourage them. I hope the Pope is listening, because he does not seem to recognize that he has this problem. Yet he could not have had a more careful, honest, or sympathetic expositor than Eduardo Echeverria, whose appreciative discussion deepens, strengthens, and enlarges our understanding not only of Pope Francis, but of the papal magisterium as a whole and the manner in which it develops. The author demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that contrary to the fears of some critics and the hopes of some admirers, the Pope is not trying to “change Catholic doctrine,” but to find new ways to explain it to the world. Profoundly committed to the deposit of faith that he is charged to uphold, he is in continuity with his recent predecessors and the Second Vatican Council, zealous to promote the New Evangelism, and alive to the reality of spiritual warfare. A special strength of the book is the respect with which it treats Protestants, even while clear about the difficulties and delicacies of bridge-building.

J. Budziszewski
University of Texas
author of Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law

This is a very timely and much-needed book. Informed by a careful study of the Pope’s speeches and writings, Professor Echeverria presents a Francis who no doubt differs in many ways from his two remarkable predecessors, but nonetheless fully shares their mission. Like John Paul II and Benedict XVI, he hears the call of the Second Vatican Council to offer the Catholic faith, whole and entire, to a needy but often hostile world. Whatever their view of Pope Francis, readers of this book will learn much about him that they will want to know.

Bruce D. Marshall
Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine
Perkins School of Theology
Southern Methodist University

This important study is a gift to so many who have been puzzled by the diverse assessments—often driven by selective citations and ideologically biased depictions—of Pope Francis’s leadership. Eduardo Echeverria carefully explores the complex record of what Francis has actually said and done thus far, in the context of  a concise narrative of post-Vatican II developments. Echeverria’s concluding account of the Pope’s commitment to “spiritual warfare” offers profound counsel for all of us who want to contend for the faith without resorting to partisan engagement in “culture wars.”

Richard J. Mouw, PhD
President Emeritus
Professor of Faith and Public Life
Fuller Theological Seminary

Eduardo Echeverria, one of the liveliest and most insightful thinkers practicing the ancient craft of theology in the United States today, sheds new light on the Catholic Church and Pope Francis at this challenging moment in history.

George Weigel
Distinguished Senior Fellow
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Both Catholics and Protestants are asking what direction Pope Francis’s papacy will go, and what it means for Catholicism’s working out of Vatican II. Is the Church moving away from the directions in which the last two popes have steered it? Is Francis pointing toward a different interpretation of the Council? There are few theologians better equipped to answer these pressing questions. Professor Echeverria is a master of the Council documents, their recent interpreters, and the last three popes. He is also impressively informed by important Protestant theologians. This is a must-read for those wanting to learn about the future of Christianity.

Gerald R. McDermott
Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion
Roanoke College


To purchase single or small quantities of the softcover edition either use the ADD TO CART button below to pay with your credit/debit card (faster method), or call us to place an order and pay by check through the mail. For bookstores and bulk purchases, please contact our Textbook Adoption »

Add to Cart

Exam Copy

Faculty members, to purchase at reduced price an examination copy to ascertain applicability for use in your post-secondary course, click here »

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