On December, 9; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Noto posted an apology for Bishop Antonio Stagliano's comment saying Santa Clause is not real. The apology came after the parents of the children were outraged at the bishop's statement.
Rev Alessandro Paolino, the Diocese of Noto's communications director, explained through Facebook that the bishop's "intentions were quite different." Paolino said he's saddened by Stagliano's declaration, "which has created disappointment in the little ones."
Paolino also urged Catholics to "not demolish the imagination of children," instead to draw "good examples from it that are positive for life." "Santa Claus is an effective image to convey the importance of giving, generosity, sharing," he added.
During St. Nicholas' Day, Stagliano told children that Santa Claus doesn't exist during an arts festival. "No, Santa Claus does not exist,' the bishop announced. "In fact, I would add that the red of the suit he wears was chosen by Coca-Cola exclusively for advertising purposes," he added.
Speaking to La Repubblica, a local news outlet in Italy, Stagliano explained that he intended to help children “distinguish what is real from what is not." Stagliano added that his statement was not directly dismissive of Santa Clause's existence. He did not note the irony that you can probably see in his remarks.
He also wanted to highlight the true meaning of Christmas against the commercialization that took away the holiday spirit. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, who was "born to give himself to all humanity," he added. Stagliano said that his comment about Santa Clause's existence references St. Nicholas of Myra.
St. Nicholas was known for giving gifts secretly and is known as the reference figure for Santa Clause.
Stagliano also said 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," he said.