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Pope sued for not wearing seat belt

Published: 26 Nov 2011 10:01 GMT+01:00

Johannes Christian Sundermann, a lawyer from Unna in North Rhine Westphalia, filed a legal complaint against the German-born pope formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger for not wearing his seat belt on several occasions “for more than one hour at a time,” according to a report in the Westfälischen Rundschau newspaper.

The pope allegedly broke the law during his visit to Freiburg at the end of September as part of his tour of Germany.

Sundermann represents a Dortmund man. As evidence the two are offering YouTube videos and are also calling the Archbishop of Freiburg, the chairman of Germany’s Bishops Conference and Winfried Kretschmann, the Green Party politician who heads the state government in Baden-Württemberg.

The lawyer, a member of the socialist Left party, took on the case after several other attorneys rejected it. Both Sundermann and his client are no longer members of the Catholic Church.

In a worst-case scenario the pope would have to pay a fine of between €30 and €2,500. However, if the pope enjoys diplomatic immunity, even a miracle won’t help this case.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:14 November 26, 2011 by abu gerhard
Apparently Sundermann has lots of free time and not enough clients to keep him busy at his chosen profession, so he comes up with a petty and stupid legal complaint against the Pope. Why not file a legal complaint against the all the airport transports that haul people from the planes to the terminals without any seat belts, or hasn't he thought about that yet in his free time?
11:50 November 26, 2011 by Landmine
The complainer needs to get a life! What a waste of time...
13:11 November 26, 2011 by n230099
"Johannes Christian Sundermann, a lawyer..."

And there lies the basic issue at hand...he's a F'n lawyer. Wonder when the last time was he was sober.
14:05 November 26, 2011 by Loth
For some reason I have doubts about the lawsuits concern over the Popes safety.
14:07 November 26, 2011 by Lisa Rusbridge
The people in Dortmund obviously are bored and/or have too much time on their hands. First The Local runs the story about the freaky, scary guy there who has had more holes punched in himself than a colander, and now this story about some idiot attorney taking a case from some legalese pedantic Dortmund man who wants to sue the Pope. Yeah, good luck with that one...
14:36 November 26, 2011 by alleindalone
but thank god the commenters here are busy busy busy busy people.
14:43 November 26, 2011 by supernova
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:44 November 26, 2011 by storymann
I do not want to be labeled as idle, but making an issue out of this is all about the person filing the complaint.
18:53 November 26, 2011 by melbournite
Christ on a stick, you people! Cant you get a joke? Even if Herr Sundermann didn't mean it as such I find it uproariously funny
21:41 November 26, 2011 by vonSchwerin
I don't understand this at all. How does the Dortmund man have legal standing to pursue this case? And what about sovereign immunity?

If this goes forward, it just shows what's wrong with the German legal system. A British or American court would have long since thrown out this case.
22:12 November 26, 2011 by supernova
Now all the Catholics are talking, but leave your Catholicism on side and learn to appreciate the equality of law, after all no body is above the law if you are present in Germany even if it's your God!
00:07 November 27, 2011 by Wise Up!
"member of the socialist Left party"

Another Marxist attack on the Church. How ridiculous.
01:13 November 27, 2011 by starsh3ro
well same rigths for all, even if this is a guy with clowncostume, he has to follow the law.
09:48 November 27, 2011 by zeddriver
The pope did not break a law. He violated a traffic regulation. There is a difference. Breaking a law subjects one to an arrest. Breaking a traffic regulation subjects one to a fine and points against one's driving permit. I believe Germany is the same as America. If a passenger does not buckle up. The driver gets the ticket and fine. Not the passenger. So shouldn't the lawyer go after the driver. Seems to be more about anti religious posturing than anything.
14:49 November 27, 2011 by AlanDEUS
You need to wear a seat belt when the vehicle is driving on public roads (or on private grounds where public regulations are posted as applicable). The pope mobile hardy drives on public roads and when the pope is on board, the mobile is driving for example on non-public routes or under other circumstances such as a parade where standard street regulations do not apply.

This legal complaint is rather nonsense.
08:19 November 28, 2011 by Englishted
@Wise Up!

Yes another attack on the church, you would think we would have known that the church is only answerable to God and therefore free to abuse the laws(and children) of any land it see fit .
09:48 November 28, 2011 by nolibs
I'm looking forward to the court slapping Sundermann with a nuisance fine and forcing him to pay all the Pope's legal costs.
09:49 November 29, 2011 by koli
It is good to be king and better even if you are pope... who cares?
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