Legion of Christ Attempts to Silence ReGAIN
Early in May, 2007, ReGAIN received a letter from Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, a law firm located in Houston, TX, which states that it represents the Legion of Christ and demands that ReGAIN remove certain content on the basis that the content constitutes alleged copyright violations of so called “spiritual” works of the Legion. (the “Cease & Desist Letter”)
Primarily, the demand is focused on the site http://www.exlegionaries.com (“Exlegionaries Discussion Board”). While ReGAIN has an electronic link on http://www.regainnetwork.org to the Exlegionaries Discussion Board (among links to many other sites including the home site of the Legion of Christ), ReGAIN neither owns nor operates the Exlegionaries Discussion Board. As it is clearly stated by ReGAIN on in its disclaimer statements:
*This site is independently owned and operated.
Please be aware that messages on this board are the opinions of each
individual poster. Consequently, the views and assertions of fact posted here are not necessarily endorsed by ReGAIN, Inc.
Notwithstanding that the vast majority of the content identified in the Cease & Desist Letter is posted on the Exlegionaries Discussion Board, and is, therefore, outside the control and discretion of ReGAIN, ReGAIN would like to make the following points to illustrate that the sole purpose of the Cease & Desist Letter is not to protect any monetary interest in the works, which is the intent of copyright law, but to silence any discussion (or critique) of the works. This is the trait of a cult, not an institution of the Catholic Church.
- After research and several consultations on the matter, we have found that no other religious group has ever threatened suit in this way against anyone who has published their “spiritual writings”, with the sole exception of Scientology, which is considered by many to be a cult. Indeed, no other Catholic institution has ever done so
The Legion of Christ continually insists on sharing its so called “spiritual patrimony” for the good of the Church. Even Pope John Paul II encouraged them to do so: “Dear brothers, I encourage you to continue radiating your spirituality”
- However, if the writings of the Legion of Christ and its founder are reserved for a “members only club” or for those few who are sufficiently enlightened to truly understand them as they climb the ladder of membership (degrees of Regnum Christi, stages of formation in the Legion), the Legion of Christ is creating a Gnostic Cult within the Church. See
ReGAIN makes no monetary profit from any writings of the Legion of Christ. We are a non-profit organization, and we sell no products or services to the public.
- To the extent that any material has been posted on the ReGAIN website, the posting of such excerpts falls under the “Fair Use” exception of the U.S. copyright law. Specifically, given the First Amendment of the US Constitution, copyrighted material may be used in certain circumstances without the permission of the copyright holder. A four prong balancing test is used to determine whether such use is permitted without violating any copyright laws. Those prongs are the following, all of which the postings on ReGAIN more than satisfy:
- “the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes” (Since the postings are on a non-profit website which exists solely to educate the public on the Legion of Christ and given that the excerpts posted on ReGAIN are for the sole purpose of educating by critiquing those excerpts, this prong is clearly satisfied);
- “the nature of the copyrighted work” (The copyrighted works constitute the religious writings of a non-profit institution that claims to be an institution of the Catholic Church, and, accordingly, such works form part of the patrimony of the Catholic Church. Therefore, the quoted material should be the property of every member of the Catholic Church. In fact, as a non-profit member of the Catholic Church that claims that such works will help the recipients grow closer to God, any sale of the works should be on a cost basis without any expectation of profiting);
- “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole” (Any allegedly copyrighted material on the ReGAIN website constitutes excerpts of such material, not all or a substantial portion of such works); and
- “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work” (As previously stated, the Legion of Christ is a non-profit organization that claims to be a part of the Catholic Church, and, accordingly, such works should constitute the patrimony of the Catholic Church. Moreover, any excerpts that may be posted on the ReGAIN website are limited to the very valuable purpose of providing a criticism of the underlying work and the Legion of Christ itself. This very important educational purpose and First Amendment right cannot be outweighed by the minimal to non-existent impact the posting of such excerpts could have on the alleged market value of the underlying works).
- Most importantly, the Cease & Desist Letter only proves the point that ReGAIN has been making for years now: The Legion of Christ has cult-like qualities and is obsessed with secrecy, not with the saving of souls in communion with the Catholic Church.