By John-Henry Westen
OTTAWA, October 25, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Monday, an executive member of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) in the archdiocese of Ottawa was expelled from her position.Â Her crime? – Publicly objecting to the appropriateness of having a former-Catholic turned MuslimÂgive a talk on Islam at a Catholic Women’s League provincial convention.
Dureen Coade, the now-former Chair of Health and Education of the Ottawa archdiocesan CWL, first attempted to call attention to the inappropriate nature of the presentation through regular channels.Â She wrote a letter to the Ontario Provincial President Shirley George with a copy to the Ottawa Archdiocesan Executive and the archdiocesan spiritual advisor. She also called the spiritual advisor separately.
In response to a question, the Muslim speaker had explained her conversion to Islam from Catholicism by ridiculing the Trinity.Â Mrs. Coade, in her complaint to the CWL President recalled that the Muslim speaker “mentioned the fact that she could not understand how she was taught in grade 4 or 5 that one + one + one = 3 and then in Religion was taught that 3 = 1.”Â The Catholic Register, the largest Catholic diocesan paper reported on the “controversy” in an August 5 article.Â“One keynote speaker was a cause of controversy.Â Dr. Alexandra Bain explained the main beliefs of Islam,” reported the Register.Â The paper added that Bain was raised an Irish Catholic and that “Bain said she couldn’t believe in the Trinity because it did not mirror the rules of arithmetic.”
Meeting with no response, and having previously attempted to address other CWL issues of infidelity unsuccessfully through regular channels, Coade contacted LifeSiteNews.com with her grievance.Â
The benefit of such a course of action has historical precedent.Â In 2000, when the Catholic Women’s League scandalously endorsed the pro-abortion March of Women, complaints from many CWL members went unheeded until LifeSiteNews.com aired the endorsement publicly.
After LifeSiteNews.com reported on the Catholic-turned Muslim speaker incident there was considerable consternation among members of the Catholic Women’s League, some of whom contacted the League with their concerns about the situation.Â
Soon after, reports began to come in to LifeSiteNews.com of this news service being disparaged by CWL Ontario President Shirley George.Â In an email to a large number of CWL leaders, George said referring to LifeSiteNews.com, “In two weeks I will be attending the national CWL convention. I intend to bring up the subject of the reliability of information coming from this site and urge every CWL member to withdraw support of the organization behind this site.”
Her promise was fulfilled when she spoke at the CWL national convention slamming LifeSiteNews.com as untrustworthy.Â A write-up published in the CWL National Magazine (Volume 82/No.3/Fall 2006) notes that George at the National Convention, which took place in Halifax this past summer, said “Our provincial convention . .Â . was a great inspiration with speakers on evangelization and understanding our Muslim neighbours. A positive atmosphere prevailed contrary to what you may have read on LifeSiteNews. Be wary of the truthfulness of your sources of information.”
George was not satisfied with slandering LifeSiteNews.com.Â She sent mean-spirited remarks about Mrs. Coade in emails to many CWL leaders.Â In one of those emails, obtained by LifeSiteNews.com, George wrote: “On a happy note, maybe this will be my last e-mail from Dureen.”
Other CWL diocesan leaders responded with similar animosity against Coade.Â In an email response to George regarding Coade, Pat Cross, the Toronto Diocesan President of the CWL, said “There might have been a (very) few who though like this lady (?), but with every convention we get some negatives . . . Delete this lady’s email from your computer – it doesn’t deserve to waste your precious time.”
Even after receiving an apology from Coade for “going public”, George demanded Coade’s resignation from the archdiocesan executive of the CWL before the Ottawa archdiocesan executive hearing at which Mrs. Coade was expelled from her position this past Monday in a vote of 5-25.
The nasty personal attacks on Mrs. Coade were perplexing considering the creed of the Catholic Women’s League as a Catholic organization.Â However, Mrs. Coade believes that some of the venom from Mrs. George may be explained by the fact that the apostate Muslim speaker in question, Dr. Alexandria Bain, is in fact George’s daughter-in-law.
In her defence, Coade noted that she had been a CWL member “for more than 40 years,” that she had already apologized for “going public” and that she did not hold animosity toward any of the CWL leaders.Â However when she attempted to point out the animosity that was directed at her in the email exchanges she was cut-off and forbidden to reveal it to those deciding her fate.
While she maintained her belief that having an apostate Catholic now Muslim present a talk on Islam was inappropriate she noted, “No objection would have been raised had a Muslim who had never experienced Christianity spoke.”Â She added, “However, to have somebody who had experienced Christianity and turned their back was a tragic mistake in judgment on the part of the decision makers.”
“I consider it my right,” she concluded, “to initiate action that would uphold the Objects of the League and teachings of our Roman Catholic Church.”
Several calls to Shirley George for comment were unreturned as were several calls to Bishop Richard Smith, the national spiritual advisor to the CWL.Â CWL National President Lorette Noble responded to our calls to her by requesting that LifeSiteNews.com questions for this story be sent by email.Â After acknowledging receipt of the questions, Noble’s secretary informed LifeSitenews.com that Mrs. Noble would need a few weeks to respond as she was to go on holidays.
To RESPECTFULLY express your concerns:
CWL National Spiritual Advisor
Bishop Richard William Smith
188 Renfrew St, Box 7
Pembroke ONÂÂ K8A 6X1
E-mail: [email protected]
Catholic Women’s League
National Office Address
C-702 Scotland Avenue
National Office Telephone and Facsimile
Toll-free: (888) 656-4040
Toll-free Facsimile: (888) 831-9507
E-mail: [email protected]