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The Priest Who Stole Christmas

  • December 25th, 2008
  • Posted by Amelia Birnie

SantasAn Italian Catholic priest is facing severe criticism from parents, as a prize meanie, for telling their children that Father Christmas does not really exist.

Father Dino Bottino, the parish priest of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Novara, Northern Italy, let out the secret at a children’s mass earlier this month.

A local paper published complaints from dozens of parents.

“You’ve ruined my children’s Christmas,” said one mother.

But an unrepentant Father Bottino called it his duty to set the record straight.

“I told the children that Father Christmas was an invention that had nothing to do with the Christian Christmas story,” he said.

“And I would repeat it again, if I had the chance,” he added.

In addition to denying the existence of Santa, Father Bottino also told children at his mass that the kindly witch called Befana, who provides Italian children with presents on 6 January, is not real either.

The priest said he had never intended to hurt anyone, but it was his duty to distinguish the reality of Jesus from the story of Father Christmas which was a fairy tale just like Cinderella or Snow White.


David Willey, “Priest ‘ruins Christmas’ for kids”, BBC News, Rome, 23.12.2008