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.
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).
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction: Other Catholics Part I. Catholic 1. Weeping and Woo-Woo: Observing Independent Catholicism in America Part II. Succession 2. Mission and Metamorphosis: Narrating Modern Catholic History 3. Love and Meta-Catholicism: Founding the Church of Antioch Part III. Sacraments and Saints 4. Dance and Balance: Leading American Independents 5. Mix and Mysticism: Experimenting with US Catholicism 6. Sacraments and Saints: Hearing a New Call Conclusion: All Catholics Appendix: Independent Catholicism Survey Notes Primary Sources Index