Some people will blame just about anything on a failed marriage, but I doubt if this story will ring a bell. A Rhode Island man says the local church bells, which ring up to 700 times per week according to his estimation, caused so much tension in his marriage that he and his wife were forced to divorce, reports the Huffington Post on Sept. 6.
Usually ringing church bells symbolize a wedding; not this time however. Narragansett resident John Devaney claims the ringing of the bells at St. Thomas More Catholic church interrupt his Constitutional right to have some gosh darn peace and quiet.
Now, the 64-year-old Devaney is getting serious, filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, demanding that the court order the town to enforce a noise ordinance against the church. The church sounds its bells “36,000 times a year,” interrupting Devaney’s “dreams, thoughts, family relationships” and leading to “arguments, bad moods and emotional distance,” the suit claims.
Devaney, who says at times he must wear earplugs, wants the church to cut down its bell gongs so that he can resume “peaceful enjoyment of his property.”
Delaney is also seeking unspecified monetary damages for the “disruption of his life these past number of years, day in, day out,” as caused by the chimes.
An 18-year resident of Narragansett, Devaney says when he and his ex-wife purchased the home across from the church, there was no bell ringing. Ten years ago, the church obtained a bell, which only briefly rang.
However, six years ago, Devaney says the church installed an amplified electronic bell, which rings two to four times a day, for a minute at a time, in addition to ringing for events like weddings and funerals.
The church offered a statement through the Catholic Diocese of Providence, saying they are “saddened” by the lawsuit and plan to “pray for peace and understanding.”
“So many in the community have enjoyed hearing the bell for more than 10 years. The parish believes the brief ringing of the bell is reasonable and well within its rights,” the statement reads. “The parish community is saddened that a sole individual would continue personal, inappropriate attacks harassing visitors, worshipers and staff of St. Thomas More Parish. As a community of faith, we will pray for peace and understanding and that all our neighbors know of our charity and concern.”
Whom should the bell toll for in this one? Devaney or the church? Leave your thoughts below.