Hard to believe this happened in Poland. But then again, I’ve heard that Poland is barely still Poland.
Via the best Catholic weekly in the UK, The Catholic Herald, comes this via Reluctant Sinner:
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.
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. [Be careful what you wish for. Pay for.] 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!
Rather than tone down his enthusiasm for loud bells and hymns, it seems that Fr Wrobel’s response to criticism was to make life even more difficult for his parishioners. One resident of the town even said that he was convinced the priest was being ‘malicious’ in his actions, and feared that Fr Andrzej Wrobel may even continue to indulge his automated bell craze as a way of enacting revenge on the people of Lewin.