Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon says while Carnival festivities were once a time of commonality, current celebrations, like society, have become overly segregated.
During Sunday’s Mass at the Living Water Community Chapel, Port of Spain, Gordon lamented that the spectacle of Carnival lost its way as a celebration of unity across all boundaries, noting that few aspects of the season stayed true to the original spirit of togetherness. Referring to the Gospel of Mark where Jesus healed a leper, Gordon said society at the time often excluded lepers out of fear that they would be infected by their disease, leading to divisions between over cleanliness. He added that today’s society was stratified along lines of ethnicity and class, noting that such divisions pointed to a wider problem in the state of TT’s soul.
"At one time Carnival was the healer, it was the space where every creed, every race, every class came on the same stage, on the same streets, were next to each other and Carnival was that level of society that allowed everyone to be who they wanted to be. “Today it happens in some segments of Carnival like the steel pan and the moko jumbies and some of the other parts of Carnival, but unfortunately we are at a difficult time in our history. “Now the Carnival is segregated and that's a symptom of the soul sickness of our nation. "It's not the Carnival that is the problem, all is not well with the soul of our nation.”
Gordon added that the problem of segregation was evident in the way society approached other problems of crime. He said that while the public should enjoy the festivities of Carnival, he urged them to guard against exclusion and learn from the lesson of Jesus Christ who accepted people from all backgrounds.
“The question we have is do we dare like the leper to fall to our knees, to look squarely at Jesus and say if you want to, you can heal me.
"Let us say over these days of festivity, joy and frivolity, let us experience the joy of the celebration, but let's also recognise that all is not well with our soul."