Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI. Getty Images News - Thomas Niedermueller

The Pope's seatbelt sin

POPE Benedict XVI could be fined for committing a car-related sin during a recent trip to Germany.

According to a number of reports out of Europe, a disgruntled member of the German public has reportedly decided to pursue a law suit against the Pope after the pontiff allegedly failed to wear a seatbelt "for more than an hour".

The plaintiff's lawyer, Johannes Sunderman, reportedly told German daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung that he considers the man not as an "anti-clerical fanatic" but someone on "a personal road-safety crusade" who is "concerned about the pope's safety too", according to US site ABC News.

Sundermann said that because the Pope was travelling in Germany - the country of his birth - he could face fines of between $50 and $4000 if video evidence can prove the misdemeanour.

The ABC report also claims two high ranking officials will be called as eyewitnesses to the violation, including the Archbishop of Freiburg (Germany's highest Catholic authority) and the president of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

An unnamed German lawyer was quoted by the UK's Daily Mail news site as saying: "The Pope is head of state of the Vatican, so it is highly likely he will be granted diplomatic immunity".


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