Lawyer hired to complain about church bells in Genoa

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2002

GENOA, Italy (AP) -- A Roman Catholic priest has promised to cut back the number of times he rings the church bells after a parishioner called in her lawyer to complain.

Sonia Sander, who lives near the church, said the priest ignored her repeated pleas that the bells at Santa Maria Immacolata kept her awake at night.

The volume of the ringing was measured at 80 decibels, well above the legal limit of 30, Sander's lawyer, Laura Buffa, said.

''At that level it damages your ears,'' she said.

On March 8, Buffa and the Rev. Amos Romano reached a 30-day trial agreement limiting the bell-ringing to five times on Sundays and holidays and three times on other days.

The bells at the church have been rung every half hour from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Sundays since 1996.

Buffa said her client, a regular churchgoer, had tried to negotiate with the priest herself for years.

''She didn't get anywhere,'' Buffa said.

The head of the parish council, Paolo Petralia, insisted that no one else had complained about the noise.

''There have always been church bells,'' he said. ''They're a tradition.''

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