Friday, March 11, 2005



Here are a couple of recent news stories about boneheads who want to scrap tradition.

New Mexico Republican state senator Joseph Carraro wants to change the state's motto from "Crescit eundo" ("It increases as it goes on") to "Antiqua Suspice, Crastina Accipe" ("Respect the Past, Embrace the Future"). "Crescit eundo" has appeared on the seal of New Mexico ever since 1851, when it was still a territory and not yet a state.

"Crescit eundo" comes from the description of the thunderbolt in Lucretius 6.340-342 (tr. H.A.J. Munro):
Then too as it advances with a long-continued moving power, it must again and again receive new velocity which ever increases as it goes on and augments its powerful might and gives vigour to its stroke.

denique quod longo venit impete, sumere debet
mobilitatem etiam atque etiam, quae crescit eundo
et validas auget viris et roborat ictum.
Also on New Mexico's state seal, above the motto, is an eagle with thunderbolts in its talons. The eagle was the bird of Zeus (aka Jupiter), king of the gods, whose weapon was the thunderbolt.

Describing the constellation Aquila, or the Eagle, Manilius (1.343-345, tr. G.P. Goold) says:
Then soars to the heights the bird of mighty Jupiter as though in its flight it carried the thunderbolts of heaven, its wonted weapons; it is a bird worthy of Jupiter and the sky, which it furnishes with awful armaments.

tum magni Iovis ales fertur in altum,
assueto volitans gestet ceu fulmina mundo,
digna Iove et caelo, quod sacris instruit armis.

Two Catholic priests of St. Mary's Church, Brisbane, Australia, performed thousands of baptisms in the name of the "Creator, Liberator and Sustainer." Now their Archbishop, John Bathersby, has ordered them to start using the prescribed words "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" instead.

I wanted to publish the names of the priests, but there are several St. Mary's in the archdiocese, and I don't know which one is unfortunate enough to have the New Age priests.

It takes a colossal dose of arrogance to think that you can improve on a state motto in use for a century and a half, or a baptismal formula in use for hundreds and hundreds of years.

The New Mexican legislator and the Australian priests have no decent respect for tradition. They are barbarians.

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