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8 Feb, 2015 17:54

Hells bells! Austrian sues Catholic Church to stop nighttime chiming

An Austrian man worn out by the nighttime chiming of Linz’s landmark New Cathedral is suing the parish to silence the bells. His lawyers even sent letter to Pope Francis seeking the pontiff’s intervention in the legal battle.

The court hearing started on Friday. Wolfgang Lassy, a 57-year old architect, has been going through hell battling the night bell ringing of the New Cathedral - also known as Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception - for years and says he is happy “the trial has finally begun,” Austria’s Heute newspaper reports.

Lassy has been struggling to get his shut-eye because the bell rings 222 times during the night, four times every hour.

“For the last few years he’s been having problems sleeping at night and been feeling exhausted, and it’s not only influenced his personal life but also his performance at work,” his lawyer Piotr Pyka told RT.

“We respect the church and acknowledge the rights to practice one’s religion but we would also like the church to acknowledge our client and anyone else to have a peaceful sleep,” he added.

Lassy told the Krone Zeitung newspaper that he brought the property near the cathedral in 2004 and it was his “dream home.”

He started to suffer fatigue in 2010 and thought he was burnt out but a doctor diagnosed him with a sleep disorder, and the bells were the culprits. He claims the cathedral is a health hazard and wants it turned off at night - as happens at Vienna’s Stephansdom.

He is now so desperate to get a decent night’s sleep that his lawyers have written to the Pope. In a two-page letter to Pope Francis, lawyer Wolfgang List begs the pontiff “to help with this burning issue.”

“The bells in the Linz Cathedral clock tower ring every quarter of an hour at night. Between 10pm and 6am … they ring 222 times. We therefore beseech you, Holy Father, to intervene … to ensure that the human right of the people of Linz to a healthy and refreshing night’s sleep is respected and that the bells no longer chime at night,” the letter read, AFP reports.

It is not yet clear if the Pope will step in, or if worn out Wolfgang will win against Linz Cathedral Parish.

Lassy says selling his home will be a last resort and hopes his prayers will be answered.