Be Guided by “that little word called conscience”: Attorney to Graduates at Nairobi-based Catholic Philosophy Institute

Credit: Seed Consolata

The conscience plays a critical role in human life, Fred Ngatia, a Kenyan criminal justice attorney and Senior Counsel has told the latest graduates from Consolata Institute of Philosophy (CIP), the Nairobi-based learning institution under the auspices of the Institute of Consolata Missionaries (IMC).

In his address during the 2024 graduation ceremony at CIP campus in Karen, Nairobi, Mr. Ngatia urged the 77 new philosophy graduates to maintain a relationship with God, who he said speaks to people through their consciences. 

He shared the testimony of his professional life, saying, “All my life I have been a lawyer. I’ll tell you the deficiencies: in practical sciences, a doctor, a lawyer, a commerce graduate… will only treat the human body – matter; but philosophy is able to reach another faculty of that human being, called the soul.” 

He continued, “A philosopher can see a soul which is suppressed by other effects, a soul which has deviated from righteousness into evil, because in that soul, as Cardinal John Henry Newman, now Saint, told us … resides our conscience, and conscience is where God speaks to us.”

“Conscience is a little word but, in that word, lays a lot of philosophy, because the philosophy of moral ethics, ethical values so much is within it,” Mr. Ngatia noted during the May 10 event, and appealed, “Please, remember the value of that little word called conscience.”


He cautioned the new philosophy graduates, who included 30 Seminarians from South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura Yambio (CDTY) against deforming their consciences in obsession with “earthly things” that he said fosters “greed”.

“Young men and women, please do not let greed take over; let conscience be the one to direct you in your steps. A conscience which is tuned towards goodness, which is righteousness, guides you every day of your life,” Mr. Ngatia said.

He continued, “It is one thing to have earthly things, but if you have earthly things and betray your conscience you would have betrayed your hereafter (life in heaven).”

To emphasize the need to remain faithful to the conscience enriched by a relationship with God, Mr. Ngatia gave the example of St. Thomas More, the English  lawyer, author of “Utopia”, and statesman canonized in 1935 after an untimely death in 1535 when he opposed King Henry VIII's plan to subordinate the Catholic Church to the English monarchy.

St. Thomas More, the Kenyan Senior Counsel recalled, “was beheaded and went to be with the lord because he would rather not betray his conscience.” 

More in Africa

“You can do no better than follow what our saints have taught us, that if you move within the four aspects of our Gospels, the bible teachings and our church’s tradition, you will be a very good shepherd, particularly for the ones who will go into priesthood you will be good shepherd for you flock,” Mr. Ngatia told the new philosophy graduates at the Karen campus of the CIP.

Established in 1974 following the transfer of the philosophy program from the Nairobi-based national Diocesan Major Seminary to St. Augustine’s Senior Seminary, Mabanga, in Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Bungoma, CIP started off as Consolata Seminary with a two-year diploma program in Philosophy and Religious Studies. 

In his congratulatory message to the 77 new philosophy graduates, the IMC Superior General highlighted the relevance of the programs at the CIP and thanked all those who have been part of the Nairobi-based institution as it marks its Golden Jubilee.

“This Golden Jubilee is a testament to the enduring relevance and significance of Philosophy in a rapidly changing world,” Fr. James Bhola Lengarin said in his message that was read out by the IMC Regional Superior of Kenya and Uganda, who doubles as CIP Chancellor, Fr. Zachary Kariuki.

Fr. Bhola added, “From the founders who laid the foundation of this institution, to the dedicated faculty members who have natured generations of scholars, we owe a debt of gratitude to all who have played part in shaping its legacy.”


The native of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Maralal, who is the pioneer African IMC Superior General since his election in June 2023 lauded CIP stakeholders for maintaining a good track record over the last five decades. 

“The Consolata Institute of Philosophy has throughout its history been dedicated to the pursuit of truth, knowledge and wisdom,” the 53-year-old Kenyan Priest said.

CIP, Fr. Bhola emphasized, “must continue to adapt and evolve embracing new ideas, methodologies and perspectives while staying true to its core values.”

On his part, the IMC Regional Superior in Kenya and Uganda and CIP Chancellor, Fr. Kariuki, said that the institution was celebrating “50 years of significant contribution to the global civilization through former students who are agents of change in different parts of the world.”

“The Church through its philosophically capacitated ministers has given the world a transformative revolution in all spheres of society such as industrialization, economics, education, health and religion,” Fr. Kariuki added. 

(Story continues below)

He continued, “The transformative practicability and application of philosophical thought into concrete life situations are evident in the great impact and positive contribution that the Church (and her) ministers (have) made in the course of human development.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Kubo, a representative of the 30 Seminarians from the CDTY, thanked their Local Ordinary, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, for his support.

Bishop Hiiboro thought it wise “that we should all come,” Seminarian Andrew said, adding, “For the love he has shown us and also for the motivation towards vocations in our Diocese and South Sudan, I appreciate him very much for this noble work he is doing for the Diocese.”

And in a WhatsApp note to ACI Africa on Tuesday, May 14, the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop expressed his gratitude to God for the 30 Seminarians, who graduated from the CIP, thanked them for their hard work, and urged them “to be grateful to God (and) prayerful”.

Nicholas Waigwa contributed to the writing of this story

ACI Africa was founded in 2019. We provide free, up-to-the-minute news affecting the Catholic Church in Africa, giving particular emphasis to the words of the Holy Father and happenings of the Holy See, to any person with access to the internet. ACI Africa is proud to offer free access to its news items to Catholic dioceses, parishes, and websites, in order to increase awareness of the activities of the universal Church and to foster a sense of Catholic thought and culture in the life of every Catholic.