Italian priest fined for excessive ringing

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

ROME, Italy — A priest in Italy who locals say rang his parish bells more than 200 times a day has been fined and ordered to take it easy with the chimes.

Don Leonardo Guerri of Florence’s Santa Maria a Coverciano church has been quarreling with his neighbors for four years, the Corriere Fiorentino newspaper reported on Friday.

Residents of the eastern enclave of Florence say the chimes ringing every day between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. for years keep them from working, relaxing or sleeping.

The worst comes on public holidays, they say, when the bells ring every half hour.

After four years of petitions, lawsuits and testing of noise pollution levels, the regional agency for environmental protection (ARPAT) in Tuscany decided to crack down, fining Guerri 2,000 euros (2 $225), reports the newspaper.

The priest will still be able to ring the bells, but only for the call to mass and the last office of the day at 6 p.m.

Contacted by AFP, the priest declined to comment.

Faced with the growing number of bell tower disputes across Tuscany, the Archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, in 2014 sent a directive to his diocese aimed at controlling noise levels.

He asked priests “to avoid forcing the sense of Christian devotion” of local residents living near the steeples.

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© Agence France-Presse

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