Parents angry after Catholic bishop tells Illinois children that Santa isn't real: 'It hurts'
Children sit with a man dressed as Santa Claus and his helper. Image via U.S. Air Force/2nd Lt. Rashard Coaxum

A Catholic bishop in Illinois told schoolchildren that Santa Claus isn't real during a pre-Halloween visit.

The Belleville News-Democrat reported that parents were upset to learn that Belleville Bishop Edward K. Braxton had informed their fifth and sixth-grade children that St. Nick is a myth.

"It’s my job to tell (my son), not his," parent Ray Schott told the newspaper. He added that he and his wife intend to keep the news from their kindergartener daughter.

"These kids are exposed to so much, so early. (Santa) is the last pure thing in a child’s life," the father added. "It hurts. He had no right to do any of that."

Braxton reportedly told the students at Belleville's Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic school that they shouldn't celebrate Halloween along with his admission about Santa.

The bishop also reportedly addressed questions about clergy sex abuse during a visit to the Blessed Sacrament School.