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Austrian appeals to Pope to stop noisy night bell

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Linz's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Photo: Pierre Bona/Wikipedia
10:32 CET+01:00
A sleep-deprived architect from Linz, Upper Austria, is appealing to the Pope in an effort to stop the cathedral bell near his home ringing during the night and disturbing his rest.

Wolfgang Lassy (57) has written a two-page letter to Pope Francis “appealing to his Holiness to help with this burning issue”.

Lassy claims that he has been struggling for years to put an end to the bell chiming during the night. According to his lawyer the bell rings an incredible 222 times during the night.

“Sleeping is so stressful for me. I often have to take sleeping tablets to get any rest,” Lassy told the Heute newspaper.

The cathedral bell rings four times an hour and at midnight it chimes 28 times. Lassy has measured the sound levels of the bell and says that at its peak it is 77 decibels - by law, in a residential area, noise levels should not exceed 50 decibels, although this doesn’t apply to churches.  

The 57-year-old is suing Linz Cathedral Parish, and the court hearing starts on Friday.  “This noise-machine is a health hazard and should be turned off at night - as is the case for Vienna’s Stephansdom,” he said.  

He told the Krone that he bought his house in Baumbachstrasse in 2004 but started to suffer from fatigue in 2010. “I thought I was burnt out but then a doctor diagnosed me with a sleep disorder.”

He added that locals are afraid to challenge the church but that he believes many people are on his side. He said that selling his home would be a last resort as it is his “dream house”.

It remains to be seen whether the pontiff will step in, and if Lassy’s prayers will finally be answered.

Story continues below…

Last year a pastor in nearby Mühlkreis decided to stop his church bells ringing during the night, in a trial phase designed to see if it would improve parishioners' sleep. 

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