It seems very odd that university staff are protesting at the visit of the Pope. On the one hand they condemn the Church for denying free speech to Galileo and then deny the same thing to the Pope.
However, this debate isn't about the Pope's views on the trial of Galileo, it is about intolerance of any view which doesn't agree with them.
I strikes me that there is a new fundamentalism and dogmatism abroad. It refuses to accept that there could be an alternative to a particular set of narrow views. Essentially, they believe that everything must be provable: intuition, memory, experience have nothing to offer. Nothing that cannot be expressed in rational scientific terms actually exists. This vision has no place for the larger vision of humanity, everything creeps along in tiny steps. Their vision of humanity lacks humanity, it is primarily about reducing man to at best to the bestial, at worst to the mechanical.
Their objection to the Pope, is an objection to religion. Religion introduces a joker into the pack. Religion says, "yes there is the rational, that is a good thing but there is also in the equation something which is unknownable."
The scientific view, if it can be termed that way, sees the world through a microscope, it is always pessimistic and pragmatic: the religious view looks through a telescope and is ultimately optimistic and puts forward ultimate principles.