On the Contrary
Publisher: Tumblar House
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
What is a traditional Catholic? Solange Hertz explains: "Given the present state of society, at the polls he rarely finds a candidate to vote for in good conscience, but plenty against, thereby earning himself a reputation for irremediable contrariness on most any issue before the public. In casual conversation his is nearly always the minority opinion, especially if it was once held by the vast majority of educated people in the civilized world and never seriously contested until relatively recently... Offering the only positive remedy to the faltering social machinery, [traditional Catholicism] will appear negative at every level. Whatever reconstruction it proposes is labeled destruction. It is accused of undermining every hope for the future by wholesale retreat into the past when its only objective is to set things straight and get them running properly again."
Arguably the most outspoken traditional Catholic writer of the 20th century, Solange Hertz is one of the foremost defenders of Catholic tradition. In On the Contrary, Hertz tackles topics including the defamation of Christopher Columbus, sex, gender roles, masonry, Americanism, Pope John Paul II, and modern liturgical developments. Hertz's zeal will rub off on you as she vocalizes and outlines the fight that we as Catholics are all involved in. Foreword by Charles A. Coulombe.
An established writer before the Second Vatican Council, Solange Hertz wrote for most Catholic periodicals and had five books to her credit, one a selection of the Catholic Literary Foundation. When she refused to adjust her theology to the new “Spirit of Vatican II,” her manuscripts almost overnight became unacceptable to her former editors. After a series of articles on feminine spirituality for the old Triumph magazine, she continued speaking for tradition by successfully producing The Thought of Their Heart and Sin Revisited on her own.
I, being an orthodox Traditional Rite loving Catholic found Mrs. Hertz's book confirming all that I was taught and embraced as a Catholic. I was reared by devout parents and educated by "The Good Sisters" who taught the Faith with the aide of the Baltimore Cathechism and by example. But, as I read her book I knew that some of the chapters would ruffle the feathers of my sisters with whom I share books. It is definitely contrary to my loving but more liberal thinking family members.
With reading On The Contrary, I wasn't ready for the surprise that was the information that Solange Hertz packs in these pages. Ranging from topics such as Columbus, Ecumenism, Papal Infallibility, Feminism, and Marriage (with much more); it is quite literally a small, comprehensive guide to the Faith for our modern world. However, while the arguments Mrs. Hertz gives both are rooted and quoted from Scripture, Church Fathers and Doctors, and theologians from all walks of life; the area of contention that surprised me the most was how readily Mrs. Hertz took me on a journey on a given topic. For example, on Feminism, Mrs. Hertz begins with the story of creation, Eve, before going to women holding "power" as it were and men holding authority over his wife, to the devil using our differences to divide us from God to democracy and secularizing schools to teach perverted "sex education", before finishing with women being important as they produce great men, as Our Lady had Christ. Mrs. Hertz does a much better job of explaining this than I ever can, but all the while she uses Scripture, quotes from how the great Church Fathers and Doctors understood them, interpretations by today's "modern" crowd, just to get the original point she makes across to the reader.
Another example is her talk on marriage, from which she derives her entire discussion from the Book of Tobias. Either way its a great read to those who want a different voice in their life. Although I do advise a caveat in that I wouldn't recommend memorizing Mrs. Hertz arguments as apologetics to counter anti-Catholic sentiment. While most of what she says I can understand, these were written from her own conclusions she reached in her life, not necessarily for everyone.
Regardless, when I powered thru this book in the three measly days I did, it was a great read and I learned a great deal more. Not just about the Catholic Faith, nor the world around me, nor even about Evil and the Evil One, but about myself. The title of this review is a testament to that, since before this book, I'd rarely read Scripture, but after the fact, I feel like I'd learn more about our Blessed Lord THRU Scripture than in all my previous encounters combined. While I do have some issues with some things Mrs. Hertz says, overall her eloquence has made it that while the gap between the devil closes, nonetheless the path towards sanctity seems more within my reach. A weird dichotomy but one Mrs. Hertz manages to pull off surprisingly well.
This book is both entertaining and informative on a variety of Catholic topics.
I greatly enjoyed reading these essays by Mrs. Solange Hertz. She wrote with a clear head and a strong opinion about the value of tradition in the Church.