This morning I decided that I should take another Facebook break. It's been a bad place lately, with outrage from people on the left and relentless Trump cheerleading from people on the right. I didn't even want to look at what people were saying about the Supreme Court nominee. (My reaction after those cabinet nominations: relief that he nominated someone qualified, and not his sister, or a stripper he used to know, or perhaps a talking platypus. Although maybe all the platypuses will be summoned home to Australia after today's adventures in conversational napalm.) Anyway, I turned to Twitter instead. It's exactly like Kenny Rogers sang: you gotta know when to hold, know when to fold 'em, know when to take your frustrations to a different social media channel.
I follow both Pope Francis and Papa Franciscus, mostly because the Latin syntax often presents a fun little puzzle to solve. Today's tweet:
Deus vult ut omnes homines se esse fratres admittant ac sic vivant, magnam hominum familiam facturi ex diversitatis concordia.— Papa Franciscus (@Pontifex_ln) February 1, 2017
My translation: God desires that all people should acknowledge themselves to be brothers, and live thus, preparing, out of diversity, to form a great human family, in concord. The @Pontifex translation is more streamlined. It also leaves out my favorite little bit of the Latin: facturi.
Facturi is a future participle, a beast which has no direct English analog. We're good with present participles ("I saw the ship breaking up on the rocks") and perfect participles ("I spotted the bicycle, broken in two by the force of the collision"), but there's no way to express a future participle in one word. It means something like "I saw a skier just about to break his leg."
Facturi says to me that Pope Francis knows we are still working on the one great human family part. It's not a present event; it's a coming event. We'll get there. We're not there.
Even as I am typing this it sounds weird and geeky to me. But on a day when I was feeling intensely frustrated because someone I volunteer with was earnestly defending the exclusion of refugees, I breathed a little sigh of relief at that future participle. He is my brother in Christ; I believe it. And we will be formed into one human family. We'll get there. We're not there.
I'm still taking a break from FB, though. Just like Kenny Rogers said.