“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 ourselves as “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 that there is 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 festivities have been used by the unscrupulous 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, our families and our world? Why do we continue to participate in such public indecency?

I call on all Catholics, and all people of good will, 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.


Msgr. William John-Lewis,

Delegate of the Apostolic Administrator

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