Msgr. William John-Lewis, Delegate of the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Roseau, has called for moderation and mindfulness while not forgetting human and Christian dignity during Carnival.
On Monday and Tuesday this week, Dominica’s Carnival season enters a new stage with two days of street jump-up marked by colorful parades and other festivities.
“As we enter into the vibrant festivities of Carnival, we are reminded of the joyous spirit that permeates our communities during this time of celebration,” the prelate said in a message that was read in all churches in the diocese on Saturday and Sunday. “Carnival, with all its colorful parades and lively gatherings, brings people together in a spirit of camaraderie and merriment.”
But he said the celebrations should be embraced with moderation. “However, as a nation that prides ourselves as ‘a people of godly, reverent fear,’ we are called to embrace the spirit of Carnival with a sense of moderation and mindfulness, never forgetting our human and Christian dignity,” he stated.
He said dignity demands that everyone reflects on a number of questions during the festive season, the first one being Carnival costumes. “Do they promote the dignity of our people, especially our women?” the man of the cloth asked. “Or do they serve as catalysts to “fan the flames of immoral expression in our people? A little yeast reflected in the skimpy costume can cause the whole dough of immorality to rise.” What example are we offering the younger generation? Are we selling our women as objects of pleasure? Should we not be particularly concerned by the excessive revealing nature of some of the costumes promoted and presented by some bands?”
Another question that should be reflected on has to do with music. “While we delight in our vibrant rhythms and challenging social commentaries of our calypsoes, we recognize there is a proliferation of songs with crude, vulgar and distasteful and immoral lyrics,” he stated. “Should these songs be played or should they not rather be banned? Should we allow the minds of our children to be poisoned by these explicitly vulgar songs? Do they promote our dignity as people made in the image and likeness of God?”
Msgr John-Lewis also pointed out that everyone should reflect on their behavior during Carnival. “The festivities have been used by the unscrupulous as a cover for immoral behavior,” he stated. “There is a prevalence of movements and gyrations that are openly pornographic. Can we condone such behavior? What are we saying to our children, our families, and our world? Why do we continue to participate in such public indecency?”
Along that line, he called on all Catholics, people of goodwill, and all those who understand human dignity “to join me in promoting the beauty and creativity of this season while forcefully denouncing all that leads to the moral decadence of our people and our nation including the excessive consumption of alcohol and other drugs, skimpy costumes, vulgar songs, and immoral behavior that can only lead to the destruction of our society.”
“God bless our people,” he remarked. “May we never forget our human and Christian dignity. We are called to be salt and light for each other. Let us keep that salt and light in our artistic expression of Carnival. Bless.”
Listen to the audio message below: