Jurisprudence Exam!

To my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,

Tommorrow at 2 o’clock UK time I have a Law Exam in the field of Jurisprudence (legal theory)…legal positivism (Austen, Kelsen, Hart), natural law theory (ancient Greeks, Thomas Aquinas and Middle Ages, modern theorists such as Fuller, Finnis) and Dworkin etc. etc.

Its difficult stuff! I’m struggling to get my head around all the concepts and so am really worried! I’ve been praying for the intercession of St Thomas Aquinas (since I’m studying his Natural Law theory as part of my course!!!) and St Thomas More (patron Saint of lawyers I believe).

I would deeply appreciate if just a few of you kind people on CAF would be able to say just a little prayer for me - perhaps to these two mighty saints! How I wish I had their brains right now! :smiley:

Pope Benedict XVI recently made an assault on the positivism of the late Hans Kelsen when he was in Germany this year…I’ve been reading that with intrigue! What a mind the Holy Father has! What an intellectual!

Love in Christ,


Praying for you, asking St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas More for their intercession.

Memorare (Prayer to Our Lady)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen

Prayer of St. Thomas More:

O Lord
give us a mind
that is humble, quiet, peaceable,
patient and charitable,
and a taste of your Holy Spirit
in all our thoughts,words, and deeds.

O Lord
give us a lively faith, a firm hope,
a fervent charity, a love of you.

Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation
and all dullness in prayer.

Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you,
your grace, and your tender compassion toward us.

Give us, good Lord,
the grace to work for the things we pray for.


I try to start each day of my legal practice with this prayer.:thumbsup:

Thank you so much! I really appreciate this!


I love both of those prayers btw! I’m praying the one to the Blessed Virgin atm and then I’m going on to the St Thomas More one! I might start praying it every day now as well for my own law studies SMOM :wink:

Dear St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas More, please intercede for Vouthon and obtain from our Lord for him the peace and clarity he needs to do well on this jurisprudence exam. May he be abandoned to our Lord’s merciful love full of confidence in His merciful love. Amen.


Thank you so much! Beautiful. :slight_smile:

You are welcome, Vouthon!:slight_smile: Please make sure to pray before your exam!

Lord, Vouhton has his exam today. Please help him through his guardian angel. May his guardian angel enlighten, guard, rule and guide him throughout his exam. Thank you, Lord, for hearing my prayer. Amen.

Praying hard.

Hey guys :slight_smile:

I am glad to report that I think I did FANTASTIC in my exam today! I didn’t even find it a struggle. I can’t believe that I wrote for that length of time! It went really well. The ideal question came up. And I was worrying so much about it beforehand! The question was on Positivism and Natural Law. It provided the scenario of the East German government passing a law which ordered the border guards at the Berlin Wall to shoot any unarmed civilians who tried to escape over the border into West Germany. In the post-Communist era the men who shot the civilians were prosecuted in Court but they defended themselves by saying that they were “just following lawful orders”. It asked me to explain how Postivists and Natural Lawyers would respond to this situation, and which theory I found more convincing in this respect.

Thank you so much for all your prayers! It is deeply, deeply appreciated! :wink: I believe that the Blessed Virgin, St Thomas Aquinas and St Thomas More have also come too my aid!

BTW I have another three exams on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday respectively - EU Law, Constitutional Law and Contract Law- I would be literally over the moon if you could say just one more prayer for me in that respect! But you have all done more than enough for me already! I also have a Criminal Law exam on the 21st of December!

Much love in Christ :thumbsup:


In the post-Communist era the men who shot the civilians were prosecuted in Court but they defended themselves by saying that they were “just following lawful orders”.

Technically speaking, the officers were telling the truth. Under then-existing East German Law, they were simply obeying the command to shoot to kill, because to seek to “escape” without permission to West Berlin or West Germany, was illegal.
It wasn’t a RIGHTEOUS Law, but it was an EXISTING law. The borderr guards were charged with enforcing it, and they did so.
I do not, not at all, condone what the guards did.
But had they disobeyed the command, they themselves would probably have been shot and killed, and their families probably would have been arrested or some other punishment.
It was very common in communist countries to punish the RELATIVES of a person who violated the communist government’s unreasonable and wicked laws. For example, the guards, not only would THEY have likely been severely dealt with or even killed, but their relatives would likely have been evicted from their state-owned apartments, denied their food ration cards as well as FIRED from their STATE-controlled jobs, and their children would likely have been either taken from them OR legally declared ineligible to receive an education higher than High School, which would have meant their kids would, basically, have had no future. I absolutely hate, loathe and detest communism with a passion I cannot describe in words. And because of things like I have just described, not to mention their willful mass-murders of well-over 150 million civilians in communist lands since Lenin’s 1917 triumph in Russia. Along with Nazi-ism, Communism is the most evil and demonic political ideology ever to emerge from the Mind of Man.

As for your upcoming exams, I’ll say a prayer for your success, too.
And I would urge you to pray to **SAINT PHILOMENA **also, for assistance in passing your exams. She is VERY FAMOUS for helping students pass their exams.
God bless you,

Dear jay! :smiley:

Thank you so much for your thoughts! And I agree about Communism :thumbsup:

Thanks Vouthon, I appreciate the reply!!

I just have really mixed feelings about the prosecution of the Border Guards.
They had a “job” which they literally couldn’t obey without sinning, nor disobey without sinning, because EITHER WAY, they were going to cause SOMEONE INNOCENT to be greatly harmed or killed: the innocents trying to escape if they shot them, OR, their own innocent families if they FAILED to shoot the escapees. It was a situation in which a RIGHTEOUS, SINLESS choice simply was not available. Quite a conundrum.
I too have been in such conundrums on a few occasions where each choice available to me, was a choice that meant I had to sin. So I chose the lesser of the two evils as best I could, and confessed the sin and received absolution.
Some Catholics believe that God would never “allow” a Christian to be in a situation in which a decision MUST BE MADE but that ANY DECISON MADE would be sinful, no matter which decision. But they are wrong. I know they are, because it has happened to me, so I had to choose the lesser of two sins, which made me sick, but at least nobody got hurt because of me and my decision (by the mercy of God, for which I fervently prayed, believe me). I have also asked the LORD to never, ever, ever, allow me to find myself in such an impossible situation EVER again, even if He has to split the Heavens in order to prevent it from developing. I pity those border guards. They were in a no-win situation, and in East Germany, you couldn’t always even “choose” your job, either. Often it was decided for you by the all powerful atheist state.
God bless you,

Dear Jay! :slight_smile:

Thank you again for the reply! I agree with you - its an almost impossible situation to be in :frowning: I really cannot condemn the guards who did shoot the civilians. However, thankfully, the question was not about the morality of what they did - I couldn’t have got my head around that! - but whether or not the law was “valid” law (ie the law of the state at that time, positive law even if unjust) or whether its inherent injustice rendered it invalid. Really there is no wrong answer - you just have to state the Positivist interpretation, then the Natural Law one and then side with one of them!

The GDR formally codified its regulations on the use of deadly force in March 1982, when the State Border Law mandated that firearms were to be used as the “maximum measure in the use of force” against individuals who “publicly attempt to break through the state border”. The GDR Border Law of 1982 allowed the use of deadly force in the case of felonies at the GDR border. Was this law “valid” law? Its debatable and thats the whole “Positivist vs Natural Law” debate.

The German court did condemn them for human rights violations, if I remember correctly. It stated that the law was so patently unjust that it could not be held as “valid” law since it so deeply conflicts with fundamental human rights treaties that the GDR had agreed too.

Chief Judge Theodor Seidel who sentenced the first East German border guard patrolling the Berlin Wall said, “The legal maxim ‘whoever flees will be shot to death’ deserves no obedience.”

The Court thus followed the “Natural Law” approach - the idea that there is a universal, objective higher, moral law of nature - as opposed to the positivist opinion - that there is no necessary connection between law and morals, that a law is valid if it is “posited” by Legal officials either simply through command and sanction (Austin) or through deriving its validity from a higher legal norm in a chain of validity stretching back to the Grundnorm (Kelsen). The Positivists might have viewed this law as “valid”, since morality for them is subjective and relative to different individuals, cultures or socities (Kelsen called it “relativistic democracy”) and according to them there are no universal human values. Law, according to Kelsen, is a “science” containing verifiable and falsifiable, objective “facts” (roughly). He argued that since morality and metaphysics were “subjective”, they had no connection to law or place in law. The Court did not follow this view. However Kelsen might have disputed the law’s validity since one of his “essentials” for validity was the doctrine of “efficacy”, that to be valid a law must be “efficient”, it must be obeyed by a significant number of people. Given that so many people were trying to escape over the border, and some of the guards deliberately mis-fired shots so as not to kill people, it could be argued from the positivist perspective that this law was not “efficient” and therefore “valid” since significant numbers of guards were not obeying it…

If one were to agree with Chief Judge Seidel, that they committed human rights violations, it does not mean that one cannot sympathise though with the perpetrators since they were in a very difficult decision. But their personal moral culpability is a different matter from the validity of the law itself!

You’re in my prayers for your remaining exams, Vouthon!


Thank you!

So very kind dear brother/sister in the Lord! :thumbsup:

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