MADRID — More than 32,000 people in Spain have called on a Madrid university to respect religious freedom and allow chapels on campus to remain open.

In just five days, Complutense University of Madrid's rector, Jose Carrillo, has received thousands of messages calling for “respect for the fundamental right of religious freedom,” said the religious-liberty organization MasLibres.

The petitions also demanded that the prestigious university, which is the largest in Spain, with more than 85,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, adhere to its agreement with the Archdiocese of Madrid and asked it to end “the harassment of Catholics through intolerant decisions” and the closing of university chapels.

Miguel Vidal, spokesman for MasLibres, said the rector has argued that the university is not trying to shut down chapels, but to revise its agreement with the archdiocese.

However, he continued, Carrillo’s envoy, Luis Enrique Otero Carvajal, has displayed an “obvious” attitude of hostility.

MasLibres charged that Otero Carvajal has “tried to close the chapel” located in his department, offering only 65 square feet in a small hallway for chapel space.

The organization said it hopes that the next meeting between the archdiocese and the university will respect “the right of freedom of religion, of conscience and of worship.”

It also said it would continue to support the actions by students and staff to defend religious freedom on the campus. 

“The more Christians are harassed,” Vidal stressed, "the more resistance they will find."