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Neighbor Says Church Bells Helped Destroy His Marriage

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(Photo credit:  Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (CBS Connecticut/AP) — A Narragansett man has gone to federal court to silence church bells sounded by a neighboring Catholic church.

The Providence Journal reports that John Devaney says in his lawsuit that the bells of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish disrupt his life and contributed to the end of his marriage.

He is asking the court to order the church to reduce the number of bell claps and gongs so he can peacefully enjoy his property.

The 64-year-old Devaney says the church bell did not operate when he and his now ex-wife bought their house 18 years ago. About six years later the bell was upgraded to operate electronically.

According to Devaney, the bell “clapped” and “gonged” at least 700 times a week, resulting in more than 36,000 times during the year. This reportedly caused emotional distress, bad moods and arguments with his wife.

Through the Catholic Diocese of Providence, the church says the brief bell ringing is reasonable and well within its rights.

“So many in the community have enjoyed hearing the bell for more than 10 years for but minutes a day. The parish believes the brief ringing of the bell is reasonable and well within its rights,” the church said in a statement to the Journal. “The parish community is saddened that a sole individual would continue personal, inappropriate attacks harassing visitors, worshippers 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.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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