Need to Integrate Science and Faith amid COVID-19 Challenge: Nuncio in Kenya

Archbishop Bert van Megen during the CIP’s 46th Graduation Ceremony in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi Friday, September 18.

The representative of the Holy Father in Kenya and South Sudan has, on the occasion of the graduation ceremony at the Consolata Institute of Philosophy (CIP) in Nairobi, highlighted the need to integrate faith and science in finding a solutions to human challenges including COVID-19 pandemic.

“If we reason only within the limits of the sciences with the hope of finding solutions to problems like the COVID-19, without having room for spiritual space, we will not grasp the ultimate meaning of our purpose, of things and our problems,” Archbishop Bert van Megen said Friday, September 18 during CIP’s 46th Graduation Ceremony in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. 

Archbishop van Megen explained the need for both faith and reason in interpreting human challenges saying, “This is because human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their creator.”

“I want to challenge scientists and some of you with extreme philosophical minds, that it cannot be maintained that philosophical signs can provide a comprehensive clarification on the human problems devoid of faith,” the Apostolic Nuncio said.

“This two, faith and reason, interact in concert towards the quest of the reality as a whole,” the Dutch Prelate said during the virtual graduation ceremony that was held under the theme, “The Role of Philosophy in the Reconstruction of post-pandemic Society.”


Making reference to Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi address on the coronavirus, the 58-year-old Church Diplomat said, “Philosophy plays a central role in reviving our ravaged society if we use it well. I urge you, therefore, to use your philosophies well to listen to the needs of our society, especially in this time of COVID-19.”

“Our world is in the ICU struggling for survival and it is in dire need of people with positive scholarship that can assist the world in combatting adversaries like the COVID-19 that is creating havoc in our modern human society,” the Nuncio said, expressing the hope that through knowledge acquired at the Nairobi-based Philosophy Institute, the graduates will be able to play a key role in the post-COVID-19 society.

Speaking at the same event, CIP Rector, Fr. James Kabata noted that because of the nature of philosophy, many people tend to consider it to be “an extraneous discipline, which has no practical significance.”

However, Fr. James said, “Philosophy has always played a critical role over the epoch in the reconstruction of the human society and still retains its relevance in the contemporary society marked by its challenges.”

“The traditional philosophical method of critical analysis and clarification are still important and applicable in the COVID-19 stricken society,” Fr. James who is a Franciscan Conventual Friar said at the ceremony that saw 105 graduates get diplomas in Philosophy and Religious studies.

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He added, “I believe that COVID-19 came as a human problem and therefore it needs a human solution. This does not mean that we exclude God in finding the solution.” 

“It is only through critical analysis of the nature of the COVID-19 crisis and posing fundamental philosophical questions on it that we can come out of this crisis with solutions that will enable us to reconstruct our society,” said Fr. James.

Started in 1970 by the Consolata Missionaries in Kenya, CIP aims at giving students a reflective and critical knowledge of the mystery of humanity, the world and God in preparation for theological studies and other relevant disciplines. Those enrolled at the Institute receive an initial academic preparation that aims at Catholic Priesthood and earn Diplomas and Bachelor of Arts degrees in philosophy.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.