Official statement on Catholic Carnival band – Jan 19, 2011

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Official statement on Catholic Carnival band – Jan 19, 2011

Official statement on Catholic Carnival band – Jan 19, 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Roman Catholics in Trinidad and Tobago have always participated in the Carnival celebrations. That Catholics should now identify themselves as a group and produce a Carnival band must be seen as an effort to impact the festivities in a different way.

The Church has never condemned Carnival. What it has ceaselessly criticised is the degradation brought to the celebrations by lewd and vulgar dancing, dirty calypso lyrics and the over indulgence in alcohol.

Genesis 1- Creation is an opportunity for Catholics to extol family values – making it possible for an entire family be part of the fete – something not easily accomplished in the present Carnival environment.

Some will argue that because of the vulgarity and poor taste that are too often on show, it is better to disengage oneself from Carnival all together. This stance is one way of making a statement about the present environment but it runs the risk of missing the true culprit in all this, which is the society itself and the culture which impacts it.

The Catholic position cannot be that Carnival is of itself evil. The Calypso art form, the steelband and its development have long been associated with the pre-Lenten festivity. In the Trinidad and Tobago setting, Carnival has demonstrated the skill and artistry of its people in the depiction of traditional and contemporary characters and in ole mas bands.

The Church, as an avid supporter of the arts, has always encouraged participation in calypso, pan and mas as is manifested in the carnival productions in its primary and secondary schools. The carnival band can, therefore, be seen as an extension of that support, providing opportunity for the development of the society’s cultural mores.

Catholics constitute a significant part of the country’s population and the Church can find nothing wrong in the band’s initiative which also lends support to the work of artists and leaders of society and religion, who hold a position similar to its own, and have been attempting to restore the weakening moral fabric of the society.

Archbishop Edward Gilbert has approved the initiative of the band as part of an evangelisation outreach. He states: “Evangelisation is not just about praying for others and witnessing to authentic values. It also means being visible in the very competitive pastoral arena, taking prudent risks in the name of the Lord and offering uplifting entertainment alternatives to society.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 March 2011 13:53