The Catholic Bishop of Yola, Most Rev. Stephen Dami Mamza has spoken on the video clip, of a masquerade, seen dancing, in one of the Parishes, in the Catholic Diocese of Yola. Bishop Mamza spoke on the issue in a press statement, dated July, 21, 2021, tagged, “At a time like this”, made available to Catholic Herald Weekly According to Bishop Mamza, “My attention was brought to a video clip that went viral on the social media, regarding some celebration that took place in one of the Catholic Parishes in my Diocese, where a masquerade was seen, dancing to the excitement of those in attendance, including some priests. “Many asked, and rightly so, as to what is the masquerade doing in the Church? And not that many only asked, but that hundreds, if not thousands, of those who saw the clip, felt bad, and considered the act, an insult to their Christian belief and practices.” Bishop Mamza said he was not writing, to explain why the masquerade was in the first place, within the assembly of believers, during a liturgical celebration, and in the manner, especially, that whatever explanation the Diocese may put forward, for or against the incident, he believes, will not equal the injury inflicted on innocent and fragile minds.
He said: “This is why I believe, very strongly, that we must always keep in mind, the saintly advice of the Great Apostle Paul, when he says, ‘Only take care, lest this liberty of yours, somehow become a stumbling block to the weak; for if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so, by your knowledge, this weak man is destroyed, the brother, for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren, and wounding their conscience, when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling. I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall’ (1 Cor. 8:9-13).” Bishop Mamza noted that the Church, is not a place for the display of cultural artifacts, adding that the Eucharistic celebrations are a solemn worship, and not at entertainment or a show.
“Having said that, and believing in the saying that everything has its place and time, may I still remind us strongly, and in good faith that the Church, especially, in the Catholic Diocese of Yola, is not a place for the display of cultural artifacts. There is no doubt that every serious minded Catholic, in the Diocese, knows that the Eucharistic celebrations are a solemn worship, and not at enter tainment or a show. “This is why I asked on the 18th of December, 2017, for example, that the presentation of the Book of the Gospels, in the name of inculturation, should not be done, in the Diocese. The celebration of the liturgy, must remain solemn, and sacred.
Besides, we all know the process of inculturation, in the Catholic Church. “In the light of this, and conscious of the fact that so many times, we lose our sense of judgment, and so, do things that are dangerous and unacceptable. I wish to say that this act was a misrepresentation of our mode of worship, in the Catholic Diocese of Yola. And may I reiterate that as a Diocese, we stand for what is right, and proper, in the celebrations of the mysteries of faith, as handed down, by the Apostles.” The Bishop assured that the incident, which is being investigated by the Diocese, will be handled with the seriousness, and urgency it deserves. Being the first time, this masquerade was heard of or even seen, performing in a liturgical celebration in the Diocese, it is therefore not acceptable, by the Diocese, and I am, as a matter of fact, investigating why the masquerade appeared during a liturgical celebration, and will surely handle it with the seriousness, and urgency it deserves.