The Other Catholics: Remaking America's Largest Religion

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Columbia University Press, May 24, 2016 - Religion - 432 pages
“An excellent study of churches on the fringe that incubate new ideas and shed new light on mainstream religion.”—Times Higher Education
Independent Catholics are not formally connected to the pope in Rome. They practice apostolic succession, seven sacraments, and devotion to the saints. But without a pope, they can change quickly and experiment freely—with some affirming communion for the divorced, women’s ordination, clerical marriage, and same-sex marriage. From their early modern origins in the Netherlands to their contemporary proliferation in the United States, these “other Catholics” represent an unusually liberal, mobile, and creative version of America’s largest religion.

In The Other Catholics, Julie Byrne shares the remarkable history and current activity of independent Catholics, who number at least two hundred communities and a million members across the United States. She focuses in particular on the Church of Antioch, one of the first Catholic groups to ordain women in modern times. Through archival documents and interviews, Byrne tells the story of the unforgettable leaders and surprising influence of these understudied churches, which, when included in Catholic history, change the narrative arc and total shape of modern Catholicism. As Pope Francis fights to soften Roman doctrines with a pastoral touch and his fellow Roman bishops push back with equal passion, independent Catholics continue to leap ahead of Roman reform, keeping key Catholic traditions but adding a progressive difference.
“Byrne’s enlightening research and analysis will undoubtedly raise awareness of these little-known Catholic denominations.”

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The Other Catholics: Remaking America's Largest Religion

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

In this probing study, Byrne (O God of Players), associate professor of religion at Hofstra University, provides a history and overview of independent Catholic churches in America, which have been ... Read full review


Other Catholics
Part I Catholic
Observing Independent Catholicism in America
Part II Succession
Narrating Modern Catholic History
Founding the Church of Antioch
Part III Sacraments and Saints
Leading American Independents
Experimenting with US Catholicism
Hearing a New Call
All Catholics
Independent Catholicism Survey
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About the author (2016)

Julie Byrne is professor of religion and the Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman Chair in Catholic Studies at Hofstra University. She is the author of O God of Players: The Story of the Immaculata Mighty Macs (Columbia, 2003).

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