Madrid Archbishopric Decries Assault on Chapel

Denounces Attack on Freedom of Worship

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MADRID, MARCH 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Madrid archbishopric is denouncing an assault on a university chapel in which a mob partially disrobed and shouted blasphemies around the altar.

In a note publicized on Friday, the archbishopric lamented the incidents that took place in a chapel of the Complutense University of Madrid.

For its part, the university condemned the attack and announced the opening of proceedings to identify the perpetrators.

According to the archbishopric's note, "a group of fifty young people, the majority girls, entered disrespectfully the chapel of the Somosaguas campus of Madrid's Complutense University, shouting slogans through a megaphone."

"Once inside, they surrounded the altar and read texts and phrases that, according to what they said, were of Christian authors on women," it continued.

They also read a manifesto including statements and judgments against the Church and its teachings, and put up posters at the entrance and left others in the pews.

"After reading the manifesto," the communiqué reported, "some of the girls took off their clothes from the waist up and began to sing offensive rhymes and slogans against the Church, the Holy Father, and the Christian faith, including blasphemies."

It added that the whole thing was photographed and filmed by persons who accompanied them.

In the face of these "absolutely reprehensible" acts, "which are the object of crime, and which denigrate in the first place those who commit them, the archbishopric of Madrid has taken its complaint to the rector's office," the note stated.

It added that "these actions are an attack on freedom of worship and a profanation of a sacred place, which entails canonical punishments in the case of those who are baptized and committed them."

Respect

The archbishopric asserted, "It is unworthy that, in a democratic society where respect is requested for persons, for religious institutions as well as the right for the public celebration of the faith in the Complutense University -- with which that Church maintains a close and amicable relationship of collaboration -- some young people can stain the good name and work of the university community with this type of behavior."

According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, the chapel caretakers intend to report the incident to the police station of Pozuelo de Alarcon, the municipality to which this campus belongs.

The attacks on this chapel are not something new, the newspaper noted. According to university sources, at the beginning of the week the walls and doors of the chapel were painted with insults against the Catholic religion. Allusion was also made to cases of pederasty among the clergy.

Some of the academic authorities consulted by ABC confirmed that "the group of vandals was numerous," between 60 and 70 young people, who were protesting and parading throughout the university campus.

It was reported that "they were carrying photographs of the Pope and some of them wore green scarves on their heads."

The chapel is small. It is open for worship virtually the whole day. It is easily seen and the doors are wide open.

According to eyewitnesses, quoted by ABC, the people "entered the lobby of the chapel as a mob. The chaplain noticed the noise and tried to dissuade them, but was pushed away."

The incident happened around 1:00 p.m. when the chaplain and some students were praying.

The communiqué issued by the university rector's office reiterated "the need to maintain respect for the plurality of religious forms of worship and beliefs and appealed for tolerance and coexistence given their own expressions."

It concluded, "The neutrality of the state in religious matters means that no belief can be imposed or persecuted" and "tolerance and respect are absolutely necessary."