When one is a new Catholic one often thinks of their formal entry into the structures of the Catholic Church as a coming home. We have heard the terms "Rome sweet home" and "the Journey home". We often see this entry as a break with our past allegiances. However once I had been a Catholic for some time I realised my whole faith journey should be appreciated and valued and that the journey is not to Rome as our Home but our home is in heaven and in the kingdom of God. Rome may be part of that journey for some of us that join the Latin or Roman rite of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Faith and Church are not limited to its physical or earthly structures- it is the mystical body of the Messiah. Jesus made Peter the first Pope or Rock of the Church long before he went to Rome. At first he was the Jerusalem Pope and then the Antioch Pope and then the Roman Pope. If a future Pope should decide to remove the Papacy elsewhere then that would be within his papal power.
Just as Pope Francis wants us to see our relations with other Christian groups as a meeting on our journey so we should see our relations with Judaism. Father Arthur Klyber a famous Hebrew Catholic priest of orthodox Jewish background taught that orthodox Jews who believe in the Messiah are already with us on the journey. The Russian Orthodox priest Father Lev Gillet says that we are in communion with Judaism through our shared belief in the coming and mission of the Messiah.
I believe that the Holy Spirit has been guiding the mystical and spiritual traditions of both Christians and Jews so that one day in the eschatological future we will see the ingrafting as taught by Paul in Romans 11. Each tradition will enrich the other for the glory of God in the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Pope Francis' concept of meeting or encounter is similar to that proposed by the French Jewish philosopher Levinas which has its roots in the Scriptural concept of "face to face" encounter. As I have written elsewhere:
"...Levinas would seem to provide a dance –like post –modernist way of philosophising that leads one back to the biblical and ethical priority of loving kindness and mercy, which is important for all believers- Jews and Christians. His concepts can also be used in a Hebrew Catholic theology as part of a philosophical choreography for encountering the truths of faith that is relevant to the post-Shoah and post-modernist generations. Those who are locked into a systematic, vertical, argumentative and modernist mindset will become lost and dizzy in the twirls and leaps of this mystical and Levinasian approach....".Maybe this would explain the reaction to Pope Francis of those Catholics of a more structured and rigid mindset. They fear becoming lost and confused in the twirls and leaps of the teachings and actions of Pope Francis. I for one look forward to the adventure of Pope Francis' mystical Tango that will lead us to enriching encounters with others and the Other (God).