Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Your Thoughts?

SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. — Yes, Virginia, there really is no Santa Claus.

That’s what a priest at St. Pius X School here told students as young as 5 during morning Mass last week, causing a furor among parents who claim the priest overstepped his boundaries by speaking so frankly about the much-loved Christmas figure.

During the Mass, school officials admit, the Rev. Ruben Rocha repeatedly told the students in grades kindergarten through third that there is no Santa Claus.

When one child asked who eats the milk and cookies left out for Santa, Rocha told them that was the work of their parents.

“I believe they’ve taken some of the innocence out of her childhood, and I’m very upset,” said parent Rick Martin, whose daughter attends kindergarten.

“After she got home, I tried to very gently find out what she was thinking about Christmas, and she said she still believes in it. But she doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, as an institution, anymore.”

“(Rocha) doesn’t have permission to tell kids of that age that information. It’s not his job or his role, and I know he regrets it now.”

“Now my daughter doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. She sees him, and she knows it’s a costume. What happens when we go to the mall this year? It’ll just be a costume to her,” Martin added. “I’ve just been let down by this whole deal.”


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