Vatican says seat-belt complaint drew papal smile

CNS PHOTO | FABIAN BIMMER, REUTERS

Pope Benedict waves to the crowd as he arrives in his popemobile to celebrate Mass at Berlin's Olympic Stadium Sept. 22.

December 12, 2011

The Vatican said Pope Benedict greeted with a smile the news that a German citizen had filed a complaint against him for not wearing a seat belt in his popemobile.

The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said Nov. 30 that the complaint was not being taken seriously at the Vatican.

"It continues to provoke curiosity and smiles of amusements, beginning with the pope himself," Lombardi said.

Lombardi said it was well known that the popemobile does not travel long distances, moves at a very slow speed and doesn't generally run the risk of encountering other vehicles in its path.

Lombardi said the Vatican was "grateful for the affectionate concern for the pope's safety," but added that the complaint did not seem to reflect much flexibility in interpreting the meaning of the law.