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Priest bars Santa from church

Published on 01/12/2003

1 December 2003

BRUSSELS – A Flemish priest has condemned his parish for printing posters advertising a carol singing service showing “pagan” images of Santa Claus, and has banned Claus from visiting church.

Father Daniel Beernaert, a 68-year-old clergyman at Saint Martin’s Church at Koekelare, has asked that the locally produced posters showing Santa Claus be re-printed, and has banned Claus from attending the planned concert.

“I’ll never welcome Santa Claus in my church – he is a pagan symbol.  At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ and not Santa Claus,” Beernaert told the Gazet van Antwerpen.

Beernaert also said Santa Claus was a commercial symbol which had nothing to do with Christmas, and that under no circumstances could the bearded Claus walk around the church during the concert.

Spokesman for the Bishop of Bruges, Peter Rossel, backed the priest, saying he understood the frustration Beernaert felt.

“Some children are already thinking at Christmas we celebrate Santa Claus instead of the birth of Christ. And the priest is not alone – we also get telephone calls from frustrated believers who think likewise.”

No milk and cookies for Santa in church then.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Belgian news