Intro

Photographer: Zack Lane, Hofstra University Photographer

Hello, I’m Dr. Julie Byrne.  My book The Other Catholics: Remaking America’s Largest Religion just came out (Columbia University Press, May 2016).  It’s about Catholics who are separate from the pope.  “Other Catholics” uphold familiar traditions like the sacraments and saints, but because they don’t answer to Rome, they can change more quickly and experiment more freely.  The groups in my book are Catholic churches that have practiced surprising things like communion for the divorced, married clergy, women priests, and same-sex marriage for decades now.  All Catholics believe in social justice, but these Catholics lead the way in what I call sacramental justice.  In the U.S. these “other” or “independent Catholics” number at least a million people and seem to be growing.  You can order The Other Catholics here or here.

In the rest of my life, I live in East New York, Brooklyn.  I teach undergraduates in the Religion Department at Hofstra University on Long Island.  I talk to groups and media about topics in American religion in general and Catholicism in particular.  My first book was about the “Mighty Macs,” a championship Catholic women’s basketball team at Immaculata College, called O God of Players  (Columbia University Press, 2003).  Writing, teaching and speaking, I offer fresh and objective angles on religion, aiming to make the best scholarship accessible to wider publics.