Aquinas: Virtue, The Natural Law and Modern Problems


December 6, 2024:  9:00 am – 4:30 pm

What is the ultimate aim of a law- to shape and habituate a virtuous human agent or simply to legislate what the masses want or demand?

*For non-lawyer discount, see below.


FRIDAY December 6, 2024 | 9am-4:30pm


PACLE approved 4 Substantive, 2 Ethics

Ohio CLE pending 3 General, 3 APC

WV CLE pending 7.2 Total, 1.2 Legal Ethics

*For Non-Lawyers: use coupon code “CourseOnly” for $50 off – if you want to attend the course and do not need the CLE credit.

*For Student rate, please email: [email protected]


The relationship of virtue and law has long been an intellectual consideration of both lawmakers and philosophers. In short, how does law connect to virtue?  Or stated another way, what is the end or purpose of every law and legal action- to make the human person a good citizen and a better person?  What is ultimate aim of a law- to shape and habituate a virtuous human agent or simply to legislate what the masses want or demand? Few thinkers have as elaborately weighed these questions as Thomas Aquinas.  In both his Treatise on Virtue and his Treatise on Law, the interplay of virtue and law is a constant thematic consideration.  For St. Thomas demands that for a law, to be a law at all, it need be grounded in virtuous human action rather than vice and strict self-interest.  Any law worthy of the designation must generate stronger and more independent citizens who are self-reliant, industrious, lawful and blessed with good character and resistant to vice.  Laws which lead in the other direction, namely vice, should either be ignored or struck down.

St. Thomas extends his virtue-based analysis to not only the general population but also its influence on lawyers and judges.  For in these occupations, St. Thomas demands an unrivaled virtue mentality and the capacity to see and differentiate good laws from bad ones.  In the final analysis, St. Thomas urges lawyers and judges to appreciate the impact of legal decision making and specific case advocacy or decision and just as critically how it habituates the citizenry in either virtue or vice.  St. Thomas sees the lawyer and judge as more than mere functionaries but rather a vocation dedicated to virtue and those goods that elevate humanity.


Presented by: Dr. Charles P. Nemeth

Dr. Charles P. Nemeth has spent much of his professional life in the study and practice of law and justice.  He is a recognized expert on professional ethics and the justice system, private-sector justice and private security systems. Before his appointment at Franciscan, he was Chair and Professor of Security, Fire and Emergency Management and Director of the Center of Private Security and Safety at John Jay College in New York City.  He is a prolific writer, having published numerous texts and articles on law and justice throughout his impressive career. His text, Private Security and the Law 4th- (Elsevier, 2012) is considered the foremost treatise on the subject matter. A 5th edition has been published by Taylor/Francis, 2018.  His private security and criminal justice expertise is further buttressed by: Private Security and Investigative Process 4th edition (CRC Press, 2019); Private Security:  Principles and Practice, 2nd (CRC Press, 2022); Criminal Law 3rdd (CRC Press, 2022) and Law and Evidence 3rd (Taylor Francis, 2022). In the area of Homeland Security, he has published Introduction to Homeland Security: Practices and Principles 4th edition (CRC Press, 2010, 2014, 2017, 2021).

He has also authored a series of philosophical works on Thomas Aquinas including Aquinas on Crime (St. Augustine’s Press, 2010); Aquinas in the Courtroom (Praeger/Greenwood Press, 2001); Aquinas and King: A Discourse on Civil Disobedience (Carolina Academic Press, 2011) and Cicero and Aquinas: A Comparative Study of Nature and the Natural Law (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018). Most recently he has completed two manuscripts:  Natural Law and the U.S Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade (Anthem Press, 2020) and Happiness in a Complex World: Rules from Aristotle and Aquinas (Anthem Press, 2020 and Sophia Institute Press, 2022). He has also served as Chief Editor to a peer reviewed journal- The Homeland Security Review since 2005 and currently serves as Chief Editor for the Law, Ethics and Jurisprudence series to be published by Anthem Press. Presently he is the Chief Editor for a peer-reviewed Natural Law and Justice journal and is the founder and Director of Franciscan University’s Center for Criminal Justice, Law and Ethics.  He has been an educator for more than 40 years. He holds memberships in the New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania Bars. Dr. Nemeth was previously a Chair at the State University of New York at Brockport and California University of PA- one of Pennsylvania’s 14 State Universities.  He is a much-sought-after legal consultant for security companies and a recognized scholar on issues involving law, professional ethics and morality and the impact of privatization on public justice models.

Dr. Nemeth resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his spouse, Jean Marie, together for 50 years and blessed with seven children all of whom are accomplished personally and professionally.



Time Schedule

9:00 – 10:00     The Structure of the Summa Theologica: Prima Secundae

10:00 – 11:00   Human Action and Personal Responsibility in the Theory of St. Thomas Aquinas

11:00 – 11:10   Break

11:10 – 12:10   The Distinction Between the Intellectual Virtues and the Moral Virtues

12:10 – 1:10     Lunch

1:10 – 2:10       The Nature of Law; the Different Kinds of Law; the Relation Between Law and Virtue

2:10 – 2:20       Break

2:20 – 3:20       The Power of Human Law and Changes in Human Law

3:20 – 4:20       Thomistic Virtue Theory and the Ethical Life for Legal Practitioners

4:20 – 4:30       Closing remarks/evaluations


Check Payment Policy:

If you prefer to pay by check, a $40 deposit or full payment is required to be sent in before a seat is reserved.

Cancellation Fee:

Due to the costs associated with our course offerings, the Center has implemented a 25% cancellation fee. Those costs relate to food and beverages purchased in advance and the fees we need pay to outside presenters.  Cancellation fees will apply to those that do not show up for the course or those who cancel ahead of its offering. The Center appreciates your understanding.


*All courses are approved for continuing legal education by state authorizing bodies and are not courses for academic credit.