The bishop of a Roman Catholic diocese in Sicily has apologized to parents after telling a group of children that Santa Claus does not exist.
According to Italian media, Bishop Antonio Staglian also alleged that Coca-Cola chose Santa’s red attire for publicity purposes during a religious function last week.
Parents were enraged by the remarks.
The bishop had intended to emphasize the actual essence of Christmas, according to Rev Alessandro Paolino of the diocese of Noto, in an apology.
He also stated that the remarks were made to bring attention to the narrative of Saint Nicholas, who was the basis for Santa Claus and was famed for distributing gifts to the impoverished.
“First and foremost, on behalf of the bishop, I express my sadness for this declaration, which has disappointed the children, and wish to clarify that Monsignor Stagliano’s intentions were quite different,” Rev Paolino stated in a Facebook post.
The bishop had intended the youngsters to “think on the meaning of Christmas,” said Rev Paolino, the communications director for the diocese of Noto, adding that the date had become recognized for consumerism.
“If there is one lesson that we can all learn from Santa Claus, young or old, it is that there are fewer goods to ‘make’ and ‘consume’ and more ‘gifts’ to distribute,” the statement added.
The bishop told the daily La Repubblica that he had not told the youngsters that Santa Claus did not exist, but that it was necessary to “separate what is true from what is not.”