Some 70 college students stormed into the chapel of Madrid’s Complutense University on March 10, shouting insults against the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI and priests.
Several females from the group stood on the altar, undressed from the waist up.
Another female student who was in the chapel praying at the time told the Spanish daily ABC that two of the young women on the altar “boasted about their homosexual tendencies.”
The group of students stormed into the chapel with a megaphone and pushed the chaplain out of the way. They proceeded to shout insults against the Catholic Church and her teachings. The group also placed posters in the pews and on the bulletin board at the entrance to the chapel.
The entire incident was caught on film.
Another student interviewed by ABC asked, “what would have happened had this taken place in a mosque? These people should know that Catholics will never respond to a provocation with another provocation just to defend themselves.”
“Nobody will silence us by acting with hostility, mockery, intimidation or any other illegitimate pressure that offends the religions sensibilities of everyone,” she continued. “Moreover, acts like these are punishable by law. How easy and cowardly it is to do something like this anonymously!”
University administrators condemned the act and said an investigation will be carried to identity those responsible. They reiterated the university’s commitment to respect for freedom of worship and belief and urged students to be tolerant of each other’s religious sentiments. “The neutrality of the government in religious matters means no specific belief can be imposed or subjected to persecution.
“Tolerance and respect are absolutely indispensable,” they said.
ABC reported it was not the first time the chapel has been the target of anti-Christian acts. Last week the doors and walls of the chapel were painted with anti-Catholic graffiti.
The Archdiocese of Madrid released a statement condemning the desecration of the chapel and filed a formal complaint with the university. “These actions are an attack on freedom of worship and a profanation of a sacred place, which carries with it canonical penalties for any baptized parties who took part.”
The archdiocese called it “shameful that in a democratic society where there is supposed to be respect for others, for religious institutions and for the right to celebrate one’s faith in public,” a group of young people would tarnish the good name and hard work of the Complutense University.