You Might Want to Sit Down for This

Published December 31, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI is being sued in Germany for violating German law by not wearing his seatbelt in the Popemobile during a visit there earlier this year.

The fine for such a law violation is 2,500 euros (or maybe it’s zero euros if the euro becomes extinct).

The suit was brought by a private citizen in Germany, so the issues are quite complicated. For one thing, it’s not clear whether only police can bring seat belt law cases or private citizens can as well. It also may turn out the Pope has diplomatic immunity as head of the Vatican City state, or not–the Pope may not be able to claim such immunity because he may have retained his German citizenship.

The man who brought the case says proof of his case is in videos of the Pope posted on Youtube. He brought the suit “to increase public awareness of the seatbelt law,” he said. It is not intended as “an attack on the Church.”

Source: Kevin Underhill, “Pope sued,” lowering the bar, November 29, 2011