Among the hundreds of thousands who gathered on January 19, 2018 in Washington, D.C. for the forty-fifth annual March for Life was a pro-life hero: Stephane Mercier, a professor of philosophy from Belgium.
Until last year, Prof. Mercier was a visiting philosophy professor at the Catholic University of Louvain. In March 2017 he distributed to his ethics class a 15-page document titled “Philosophy for life: against a so-called 'right to choose' abortion.” The philosophical paper explained why abortion should be considered murder, offering arguments that few of his 600 students had ever heard, much less discussed.
Catholic University Sacks Pro-Life Professor
Reaction was swift and violent, not from his students, but by a Belgian LGBT organization called Synergie Wallonie. A media firestorm against Prof. Mercier soon followed. Louvain launched an inquiry into the matter and immediately sided with the pro-abortion activists. Tania van Hemelryck, the special adviser to the university president on gender politics, told Belgian television, “The authorities want to find out the exact status of the text and how it was used during this course, bearing in mind that in any case UCL defends the fundamental right to abortion, and particularly women’s right to choose.”
In a statement, the Catholic University of Louvain declared that “whatever the outcome of the inquiry, the right to abortion is enshrined in Belgian law and the note that was brought to the attention of UCL is at odds with the values upheld by the university. Conveying standpoints that contradict these values in the framework of a teaching course is unacceptable.”
The Catholic university suspended Prof. Mercier of his teaching duties and refused to renew his contract, effectively firing him. Worst of all, the Belgian Catholic Bishops Conference sided with the university, issuing the following statement:
“Regarding the suspension of Mr. Stephane Mercier, part-time lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain (CUL), the bishops have faith in the internal procedures taken by the university.”
“The Church understands that some women make the decision to abort when they are in painful, difficult, and desperate situations. The seriousness of abortion is a drama for the child, for his parents, and for society. Understanding these dramatic situations, it is important to the bishops that we always speak with nuance and tact regarding people and couples who make the choice of abortion.” [our translation]
Time to Stand Up
Prof. Mercier’s story quickly spread across the world. In tribute to his brave stand for truth in the face of persecution, he was the guest of honor at the TFP's Washington Bureau on January 20, where he talked to a crowded auditorium about “The Bitter Fruits of the Sexual Revolution,” explaining how critical it is for faithful Catholics to stand up against the moral crises.
“How are we to cure the disease if we fail to speak openly and be vocal about what is going on? Too many Catholics are dramatically in want of guts," Prof. Mercier said. "And the agents of Revolution know that and take advantage of that. That’s why it is absolutely critical to be firm, explicitly, to revive the smoldering fire and to try to awaken what’s left in people today so we all man up before it is too late."
“If we refrain from standing firm against the moral collapse we have our share in the overall responsibility," observed Prof. Mercier. "Resistance is required. No, better, it is compulsory. Active resistance. Seneca had it right in one of his plays, 'He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.' 'Toleration will bring about what you are not willing to tolerate.'”
Many Catholics and even pro-lifers do not understand that all the evils of the sexual revolution – abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, rampant fornication – are all bitter fruits of one and the same tree.
“It would be a fatal mistake if you ever thought that you could for example tackle the evil of abortion on its own," explained Prof. Mercier. "That is because the particular evil of abortion doesn’t stand and fall on its own. It is part of an evil network the parts of which are interdependent and reinforcing each other."
The Sexual Revolution as a Hydra
“The monster of the sexual revolution is a Hydra," explained Prof. Mercier, "and shall not be put to death if only part of the problem is dealt with. According to the Greek poet Hesoid, the mythological Hydra was the unholy offspring of the serpent god Typhon and Echidna. Our present day 'Hydra' is also the offspring of two monsters, namely, the French Revolution and Marxism. Both wage a total war against God and the order of Creation so as to establish the model of a new man, owing everything to himself. And the inevitable outcome of their mating is the sexual revolution."
“All of these sexual misbehaviors are patently wrong in themselves," said Prof. Mercier. "Just to state a few obvious points: same-sex intercourse runs counter to the complementarity of male and female and negates the very meaning of sexual expression and openness to life. Contraception too opposes life and reduced the sex partner to a means of pleasuring the self without facing the consequences. And as for the 'clump of cells,' it is so well designed that it is no more a clump than the bigger clumps we call adult human beings."
The Sexual Revolution's Aversion to God and Nature
Prof. Mercier continued: “What do we think of someone who eats and then vomits what he has eaten? We say that he is either suffering from an eating disorder (which is a very unpleasant condition indeed) or that he is a pervert who eats for the sake of eating while cheating nature as he refuses to face being overweight, that comes as a consequence of eating without restraint. People are quite smart and clever when they label the whole eating and vomiting process as a disease or perversion. Why is it then that the very same people cease to be smart and clever when quite a similar process happens in a different realm. You want sex but you want to escape the consequences of sex, and that is not right. Just as it is not right to eat for the sake of pleasure and then vomit because of your refusal to acknowledge that pleasure isn’t the one and only component of eating. Pleasure is a side-effect we gladly accept as we pursue the right end. But when pleasure itself ceases to be an extra and becomes the end itself, we lose sight of what is right and engage in all kinds of misconduct and misbehavior."
“All this is both obvious and inescapable," said Prof. Mercier. "So why is it that people don’t see what’s wrong with homosexuality, contraception, and destroying family bonds and the fruit of the womb? Why indeed if not for the pervasive numbness that is the fruit from quite another matrix. That is, the fruit from the sexual revolution, blinding and binding us with the ties of comfort and pleasure, free from its natural consequences. The bitter fruits of the sexual revolution are an aversion to God and to nature. Every sexual misconduct – homosexuality, abortion, promiscuity — is deeply interlinked with the other and flows from one and the same state of mind, which is a revolt against the natural order and the will of the Creator. In the words of the Psalmist, ‘Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ.’”
In conclusion, Prof. Mercier stated:
“The fight is far from over, but we have good reason to stay firm. As the triumph of Mary Immaculate is just a matter of time. And the Lord is eternally victorious. The kingly prophet said it all, 'He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them. Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his rage…. And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth. Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling. Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way. When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.'”
Your turn: Please feel free to write a message of support to Prof. Mercier in the comments section below.
Here is a video of Prof. Mercier's full talk: