According to recent reports, Fr Andrzej Wrobel, the Catholic parish priest of Lewin, Poland, was sentenced to 30 hours community service yesterday for ‘noise pollution’, because he had disturbed parishioners and local residents by ringing his church bells.
When I first noticed the headlines surrounding this story, which appeared in both the Telegraph and on Polish radio, my immediate reaction was, ‘Oh no, yet another example of the creeping tide of secularism!’ Having read the background to this sorry tale, though, I am beginning to see why the priest in question was dealt with so harshly.
It seems that since his appointment as parish priest of Lewin in 2009, Fr Wrobel took it upon himself to install a high tech automated bell system for the church, which was paid for by his parishioners. The electronic ‘bells’ consisted of chimes and gongs that were set to ring at various points throughout the day – beginning at 5.00am! The system had also been set to play hymns on a daily loop, including one every night at 9.37pm, which was Fr Wrobel’s way of commemorating the death of Blessed John Paul II.
Needless to say, Fr Andrzej Wrobel’s parishioners started to complain once the noise pollution had become unbearable. Those with little children and pets were particularly affected, as it seems the bells made dogs howl and also frightened the town’s toddlers.
In response to the complaints, the priest defiantly added another hymn to his sound system, which was set to play at 1.30am! Having to listen to a hymn at that time of the morning, whilst aware that a set of bells was about to start ringing in just over three hours, I’m surprised that it wasn’t just the town’s dogs that were howling!
Source: A Reluctant Sinner
Vatican City: Resurrection is the heart of the christian message, pope says.