Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I address you as the Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau and President of the Dominica Christian Council.
We come once again to one of the most celebrated festivities on our National Calendar – Carnival. It is a time which unleashes the most creative spirit of our people, expressed in the Calypso art from, talent competitions such as the Queen shows and the beautiful costumes; all expressions of our culture.
Also, by its very nature, Carnival engenders a certain freedom of expression, which is in itself very positive. In fact it is necessary for the development of the human psyche. At the same time, Carnival can be used as an avenue for excesses and abuses of all kinds. Therefore, despite the tremendous good that such an activity can bring about in us, it can be deemed unchristian and immoral.
Additionally, having fun and enjoyment is not contrary to the gospel. Carnival should never be used as an excuse to lower one’s human dignity. It should never be used as a time for people to settle their differences through violent means or any form of bad behaviour. It should never be used as an excuse for our people to display all forms of indecency and excessive exposure. St. Paul reminds us in 1Cor 6:19 that the human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, I appeal to all Christians during this Carnival season; have an enjoyable Carnival festivity, but also have utmost respect for yourself and for others. I appeal to all parents of young children; keep a close watch over these little ones. To the youth; in the midst of having a good time, refrain from the excessive consumption of alcohol and a complete avoidance of the use of illegal drugs. These reduce your inhibition and can facilitate engagement in unsavory actions and promiscuous sexual activities. While little is spoken of HIV-AIDS today, it still remains a reality.
I would like to encourage all participants in Carnival and all Christians in general to enter into the Lenten exercise of fasting, prayer and charitable giving that begins on Ash Wednesday.
A happy Carnival to everyone! Let us work towards a drug-free and an incident-free event. May God bless you all!
Bishop Gabriel Malzaire is the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau.