Italian Bishop Was Right to Destroy Santa; We Support Him
Babbo Natale is a lie and he should say it
An Italian bishop verbally laid waste to the idea of Santa Claus last week, telling a bunch of schoolchildren on a field trip to his church that Babbo Natale (as Father Christmas is known in Italy) is made-up and a cheap shill of commercialism and consumerism.
The bishop, Antonio Staglianò of the Santissimo Salvatore Basilica in the Sicilian town of Noto, reportedly went on a rant that lasted for several minutes. His character assassination of Babbo Natale included, per the New York Times, lines like:
“Santa Claus is an imaginary character.”
“The red color of his coat was chosen by Coca-Cola for advertising purposes.”
[A chaperoning teacher] said that when one of the children protested, telling the bishop that her parents had assured her Santa was real, the cleric responded that the child should tell her parents “you tell lies.”
And in an interview with the Times:
“Is Father Christmas everyone’s father, or just some? … In the lockdown, Father Christmas didn’t visit the families that he used to. Why? It’s definitely not for fear of the coronavirus.”
“With all due respect … Santa Claus only brings gifts to those who have money whether the children are naughty or nice.”
The poor families and migrants he visits every Christmas, he said, “have never seen Santa Claus.” So he urged the children in the church to ask Santa Claus for even more gifts and, if he showed up, explain to him that they could now give to poor children “given that you never visit them!”
Damn, he kinda snapped with this one…
A social media uproar prompted the diocese of Noto to address the controversy. In statements on Facebook and on the diocesan website, spokesperson Don Alessandro Paolino posted: “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 Staglianò’s intentions were quite different.” Then the spokesperson also joined in the jolly red man slander, criticizing “Santa Claus aka consumerism, the desire to own, buy, buy and buy again,” according to the Times.
On Facebook, Paolino also wrote: “Un altro modo di dire ‘regalo’ e ‘dono’ è il più desueto PRESENTE. I doni di Natale sono i ‘Presenti’, la nostra PRESENZA, il nostro ESSERCI per gli altri.” To my Google Translate-assisted understanding, this is more or less saying that gifts are PRESENTS that should represent our PRESENCE for each other. God, these Catholics really have a way with words.