Rhode Island man sues pope over loud church bells

Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, leads a a mass with cardinals at the Sistine Chapel. Credit: Reuters
Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, leads a a mass with cardinals at the Sistine Chapel.
Credit: Reuters

A Rhode Island man filed a federal lawsuit that names Pope Francis as a defendant because the senior citizen claims that too loud bells that toll from neighboring churches have disrupted his life, forced him inside and helped lead to his divorce. 

John Devaney, who calls himself a senior citizen in his civil complaint, filed his initial hand-written complaint in July. He filed an amended complaint last month that seeks relief including having the churches reduce the volume of their bells and the church pay monetary damages for the disruption to his life.

In his complaint, Devaney claims that the church directly across the street from his Narragansett home sounds its bells so often that there are 700 bell claps a week, not including weddings and funerals. The bells at that church were not used when he and his family first moved into the home in 1995.

Devaney said the bells interrupt his “sleep, his dreams, his thought and reading, study, bathing, watching television, speaking over the telephone, listening to music and radio, relaxing and working about his house.”

“The bell noise has forced plaintiff inside, no longer able to enjoy his front porch or front, side or rear yards, cautious always, of the bell and when it will be operated,” Devaney wrote in his complaint, adding that the bell noise makes him emotionally “upset.”

His bedroom and bathroom face the church, so he tried moving his bedroom to another part of the home, but the bell noise can still be heard. Additionally, the other side of his home faces a second church just up the street. He said the bell sounds from that church were electronically amplified after he moved into the home.

Devaney said he is divorced and blamed the sound of the bells for his family breakdown.

“[T]hese bell sounds did indeed help precipitate unhappiness about his house, interfering with his relationships with his children and then wife, leading at times to frustration and bad moods which at times led to arguments and complaints thereby emotionally distancing plaintiff from his children and them from him, and helping to precipitate an irretrievable breakdown in his marriage of 23 years,” Devaney wrote in the complaint.

Devaney said he has brought his complaints to employees and authorities of the churches, but has had no relief.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

Local

Tsarnaev defense lawyers in court Wednesday, seek family…

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are due in court Wednesday to ask a judge to order prosecutors to hand over more information on the defendant's family.

National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.