- An Italian church has apologized after a bishop told kids that Santa wasn’t real.
- Antonio Staglianò, the bishop of Noto, said he was highlighting the true meaning of the holiday.
- Staglianò said the holiday had been overrun by commercialization.
An Italian church has apologized after a bishop told kids Santa wasn’t real during an arts festival last week, Italian outlet Il Quotidiano del Sud reported.
“No, Santa Claus does not exist. In fact, I would add that the red of the suit he wears was chosen by Coca-Cola exclusively for advertising purposes,” Antonio Staglianò, the bishop of Noto in Sicily, said during an event celebrating the feast day of Saint Nicholas.
In a Facebook post, Rev Alessandro Paolino, the communications director for the diocese of Noto said: “First of all, on behalf of the bishop, I express my sorrow for this declaration, which has created disappointment in the little ones, and want to specify that Monsignor Stagliano’s intentions were quite different.”
In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Staglianò said he spoke with the kids “about the need to distinguish what is real from what is not.”
In a statement, Staglianò said he wanted to highlight the true meaning of Christmas, adding that commercialization has taken away from the true spirit of the holiday.
The bishop said Christmas has a message of giving, adding that the birth of Jesus signified that message because he was “born to give himself to all humanity.” That message, he said, was lost amidst the commercialization.
“A real fact came out, namely that Christmas no longer belongs to Christians. The language has emptied itself … The Christmas atmosphere between lights and shopping has taken the place of Christmas,” the statement said.