The pope remains a symbol of a hierarchy "that has failed the victims," Kirk said, adding that he believed media coverage of the pope's visit was focusing too much on Pope Benedict's pastoral image rather than on what Kirk said was the pope's potent political symbolism. "If the pope had gone to the nearest soup kitchen after arriving and (President) Bush had been the third person, rather than the first person, he had met, I'd be happier," said Kirk.
Liberation theologians such as Peruvian Dominican Father Gustavo Gutierrez have taught for short terms at Union, which has ties with Columbia University. Catholic scholars not associated with liberation theology, including the late biblical scholar Sulpician Father Raymond Brown, (troublesome, read link) have also been permanent faculty at Union.
Another Roman Catholic theologian who has had trouble with the Vatican is Paul F. Knitter, currently Union's Paul Tillich professor of theology, world religions and culture.
said her concern about church reform, specifically the need to expand the eligibility for clergy to include noncelibate men and women, is coming out of real and "lived experience."