This is really sad - although it looks like things will be repaired and cleaned rather quickly.
Holy Hill (The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians and a Carmelite Monastery) is local to us - a fifteen or twenty minute drive. It's a beautiful shrine (Archbishop Dolan has put in a formal request to Rome to designate it a basilica) that we frequent for daily mass, confession, holy day masses and stations of the cross. It's usually pretty low-key during the week but quite crowded on weekends (except during the winter) when pilgrims come to visit from all over. It's always been a beautiful reminder to me of the universal nature of Catholicism, to hear languages from all over (Spanish, Philippino, Mandarin and others I think). We heard that Karol Wojtyla visited there some years before he became pope. There's a wall outside the Shrine Chapel filled with crutches and other devices that are no longer needed by their former owners.
I think the Church is vulnerable to the world in a similar way to how Christ allowed himself to be vulnerable to the world. We too sometimes have to "put our necks on the line" and stand for what is right. Sometimes just being who we are is enough to stir up hatred.
Here's one example of backlash toward Catholics for their sympathy to illegal immigrants... (hat tip Shrine of the Holy Whapping)
Here's another (albeit more complicated)...
This reminds me of the story I heard from someone at the University of St. Thomas about the year leading up to this speech (hat tip to the Curt Jester - warning - offensive language from protestors involved in video). The story began simply with... "This year we started perpetual adoration on campus."
To be quite frank, I don't think the speech is particularly moving or helpful (although sometimes you can't help cheering a guy with "guts" and he was voted into this spot by his fellow students - a 4.0 student, football player and seminarian - wow!) - I thought the most remarkable part of the story was the harshness of the reaction by those attending the graduation.
Here are a few more details of the story as it played out through the year according to one news source.
Welcome to the world of 21st century Catholic higher education.