A Roman Catholic diocese in Sicily has publicly tendered an apology after a bishop remarked that Santa Claus did not exist.
According to Italian media, Bishop Antonio Staglianò told this to a group of children at a religious event last week, causing the parents to infuriate.
He also said that Santa’s red costume had been chosen by Coca-Cola for its own promotion.
In an apology, the communications director for the diocese of Noto, Rev Paolino said the bishop was trying to make the children understand the true meaning of Christmas.
Paolino added that the remarks were intended to highlight the story of Saint Nicholas, who was the initial inspiration behind Santa Claus and known for giving gifts to the poor.