for AFP on Dec. 16, 2010
BUENOS AIRES — A Roman Catholic archbishop surprised his parishioners in Argentina by telling the children that Santa Claus was not real, but instead a commercialized symbol of Christmas.
"That's not Christmas," Archbishop Fabriciano Sigampa of the northern city of Resistencia said in mass, insisting that children should not confuse celebrating the birth of Christ "with a fat man dressed in red."
Sigampa's ire was aroused by plans for a snow covered cabin in the city's main square where a Father Christmas figure would hear children's wishes and receive donated toys to be given out to poor children.
"Surely, in the coming days there will be a deluge of advertisements after they inaugurate the house where a fat man dressed in red lives. And we should not confuse, we should not confuse Christmas with that."
He said children "should know that, in reality, the gifts come from the efforts of their parents and with the help of Jesus."
After the bishop aired his objections, organizers dropped plans for a Santa and renamed the cabin the "House of Christmas."
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