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Embracing Carnival: Lights and Shadows

Memorandum
To: All Clergy of the Diocese of Roseau
From: Msgr. William John-Lewis,
Delegate of the Apostolic Administrator
Re: Carnival Message to be read in all churches of the Diocese of Roseau on Saturday & Sunday, February 10th & 11th 2024 respectively
Date: 9th February, 2024

“Embracing Carnival: Lights and Shadows
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
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. Carnival with its colourful parades and lively gatherings, brings people together in a spirit of camaraderie and merriment. However, as a Nation that prides itself on “a people full 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. A dignity which demands that we reflect on the following questions:

Our Carnival Costumes: Do they promote the dignity of our people, especially our women? Or do they serve as catalysts “to fan the flames of immoral expressions in our people? A little yeast reflected in the skimpy costumes 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 and horrified by the excessively revealing nature of some of the costumes promoted and presented by some bands.

Our music: While we delight in our vibrant rhythms and challenging social commentaries of our calypsos, we recognize a proliferation of songs with crude, vulgar, distasteful, and
immoral lyrics. Should those songs be played or should they not rather be banned? Should we allow the minds of our children to be poisoned by those explicitly vulgar songs? Do they promote our dignity as people made in the image and likeness of our God?
Our Behaviour: The unscrupulous have used the festivities as a cover for immoral behaviour. There is a prevalence of movements and gyrations that are openly pornographic. Can we condone such behavior? What are we saying to our children, families, and world? Why do we continue to participate in such public indecency?

I call on all Catholics, and all people of goodwill, all those who understand the dignity of the human person 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. May we never forget our human and Christian dignity. We are called to be the salt and light for each other. Let us keep that salt and light in the artistic expressions of our carnival.
Blessings!!”

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