The official blog of Rev. Francis X. Hezel, SJ

1
Easter 2012: He is Risen…Or Is He?
2
The Century of the Pacific
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Doing Time
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What Do You Do with a Failed State?
5
A Little Time in the Desert
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Further Thoughts on the Pacific Economies Article
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Are Island Economies Viable?
8
Football as Religion

Easter 2012: He is Risen…Or Is He?

Long ago when I was ordained a priest, I promised myself that I would never say anything in a homily that I didn’t fully believe.  So for my Easter Sunday homily here at Oceanside, NY, I fell back on a message I’ve used before.  It’s less about pulling Easter bunnies out of hats, or finding that golden Easter egg in the hunt.  It’s more about the problems that the Easter promise presents for anyone who gives a second thought to the world around Read More

The Century of the Pacific

Did you say the “Century of the Pacific?”  What century was that?

Was it perhaps the sixteenth, when Spanish caravels discovered the sea route to Asia and its fabled wealth?  When their navigators began naming the little specks of land they happened upon along the way and sprinkling them on the European maps of that great watery void for the first time?

Or was it the seventeenth, when Read More

Doing Time

When a person entered the walled town he might be greeted by the sight of heads impaled on stakes or a decaying corpse swinging from a tree. Centuries ago, long before there was a United States of America, European kingdoms had their macabre ways of posting warnings that crime was not tolerated there.  Beware, all you who think that you can plunder and kill and plot against rulers, for this will be your fate. Read More

What Do You Do with a Failed State?

First, you find out what the term means.  Unfortunately, the Fund for Peace, an NGO that each year publishes the Index of Failed States, doesn’t seem to offer much help.  It offers a list of symptoms–civil strife, hunger, poor economic performance despite sometimes rich resources, breakdown in government services, widespread corruption, and a steady flow of refugees heading for the border.  But at bottom all these are just consequences of the core problem: a national government that is too weak and ineffective to rule. Read More

A Little Time in the Desert

Not in the spiritual desert, but in Nevada–the home of rattlesnakes, cactus juice and casinos aplenty.  In response to a request to look through the papers of Chuck Helstrom, a former TT police head who died a few months ago, I spent a few days in Las Vegas with friends.  Browsing through his files was a flip through 20 years of island history during the 1970s and 80s: heroin drug busts on Saipan, investigations into the practice of “crazy eight” handcuffing in Chuuk, death threats against certain congressmen for voting the wrong way, intrigues among the HiCom staff, and so much more. I’d almost forgotten how thrilling those days were.  How many times since then have police been sent into a village at dawn and kicked down doors to get men wanted by the law? Read More

Further Thoughts on the Pacific Economies Article

The article that is posted here has already drawn several responses, not as comments here but as emails.  Perhaps I should have posted a disclaimer.  I’m not an economist, as is probably obvious to those who have read the article, but only a dabbler with a fascination in the history of economies on the world stage. Even in that area the reading list I can draw on is embarrassingly short. Read More

Are Island Economies Viable?

We all know that the Micronesian island nations are having problems building their economies.  Palau might be doing better then FSM and the Marshalls, but they all seem to be heavily dependant on Compact funds from the US.  Are the US-related island nations north of the equator doing worse than the rest of the Pacific Island nations?  Perhaps because they’ve become fat and lazy due to the Compact funds?

Last year, working with two Fordham graduate students, I gathered as much economic data about the island nations as possible so that we could compare the Micronesian nations with the rest.  When looked at this way, Read More

Football as Religion

Many times over football has been declared America’s religion.  Maybe it is.  When I was saying mass last Sunday, the day that the New York Giants was to play the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC spot in the SuperBowl, there were lots of heavy jackets bearing the Giants’ logo.  There were also plenty of remarks after the mass about where people expected to be when the game started at 6:30 that evening.  The two religions–the one I’m supposed to represent and the one symbolized by those jackets–were meshing very nicely that morning. Read More

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