The Catholic Church has apologized to parents after a bishop in Sicily told a congregation packed with children that “Santa Claus does not exist,” and that the modern Father Christmas was invented by the Coca-Cola company.
“First of all, in the name of the bishop, I express my regret for this declaration which has generated disappointment in the smallest children,”According to the Italian Press, Don Alessandro Paolino from the Diocese in Noto said the following.
Don Paolino’s apology came after Bishop Antonio Stagliano left some young churchgoers upset this week by telling them point-blank that Santa Claus was not real.
“I would add that the red colour of his coat was chosen by Coca-Cola for advertising purposes,”Stagliano stated that Santa is a wholesome Santa image. “depict itself as an emblem of healthy values.”
Bizarrely, Stagliano’s words were uttered during a festival that culminated in a re-enactment of the arrival of St. Nicholas to the Sicilian town of Noto on horseback. Many local children heard his words and their parents took to social networking to express frustration at the bishop. Many accused him of being hypocritical for ridiculing Santa, while insisting upon the existence of Santa. “the son of the virgin and the holy spirit who walked on water,”The Times reported.
Andere comparedThe bishop is the Grinch.
Stagliano however, stood firm to his statements. Amid the outrage, he claimed that he wanted children to forget about Coca-Cola’s depiction of Santa and focus on the true historical origins of Father Christmas – Saint Nicholas.
“If Santa is St. Nicholas, children will be more open to the idea of helping each other, to the idea of solidarity that comes from giving gifts to poorer children,”He stated. He said that his sermon was “a way of doing pop theology and recovering the true meaning of the Christian tradition of Christmas.”
Some of the traditions that we associate Santa Claus with were inspired by Saint Nicholas who was a third-century resident in Turkey. He is said to have thrown coins in the window of a poor family’s house, and anonymously distributed food to the hungry. His legend inspired the Dutch tradition of ‘Sinterklaas’, which in turn became the English ‘Santa Claus’, who was depicted wearing various outfits until Coca-Cola popularised his red and white getup in the 1930s.