• Germany edition
 
Pope sued for not wearing seat belt
"Photo:DPA"

Pope sued for not wearing seat belt

Published: 26 Nov 2011 10:01 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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?
Today's headlines
Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,532
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd