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Parents furious after bishop tells kids Santa isn't real

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The Diocese of Belleville said Bishop Braxton's words were taken out of context

A bishop has upset parents by telling children that Santa Claus isn’t real.

Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, provoked a backlash after explaining the real story of St Nicholas, a 4th-century bishop, during a visit to Belleville’s Our Lady of Peace school.

A diocesan official said the remarks were made to 10- to 12-year-old children and that the controversy was based on a “complete misunderstanding”. But parents argued that the remarks still trickled down to the younger children.

“They hop in the car with [younger siblings] and say: ‘Bishop said there’s no Santa Claus’,” one parent, Boyd Ahlers, told Belleville News-Democrat. “All the kids are talking about it … it just waterfalls.”

Another parent, Ray Schott, told the Chicago Tribune: “These kids are exposed to so much, so early. [Santa] is the last pure thing in a child’s life. It hurts. He had no right to do any of that.”