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Italian Bishop in Hot Water After Telling Children Santa Is Product of Coca-Cola Marketing

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Santa Claus - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.12.2021
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Outraged parents criticized the remarks, saying it was wrong to disappoint kids, particularly after all the pandemic hardship. Some, however, agreed with Stagliano.
Catholic bishop Antonio Stagliano from Sicily has sparked criticism following his controversial comments on Babbo Natale (Italian for Santa Claus).
Local media reported earlier that the bishop claimed that Santa’s red clothes were designed by Coca-Cola "exclusively for advertising purposes" and that the beloved white-bearded Christmas guest was not real.
The diocese has now explained that the bishop didn’t want to break children’s Christmas spirit and dreams, but wanted to stress the real meaning of the celebration and the history of Saint Nicholas, who, among other things, is known as an anonymous gift-giver. One famous legend told about the saint recounts how he once secretly gave gold to a poverty-stricken man who was about to sell his daughters.
Diocese communications director Rev Alessandro Paolino expressed on behalf of the bishop the “sorrow for this declaration which has created disappointment in the little ones” and noted that “Stagliano's intentions were quite different.”

“We certainly must not demolish the imagination of children, but draw good examples from it that are positive for life,” he wrote on Facebook, adding that Santa is an embodiment of kindness and generosity. “But when this image loses its meaning, you see Santa Claus aka consumerism, the desire to own, buy, buy and buy again, then you have to revalue it by giving it a new meaning.”

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