Doper priest, dopey friends

A slice of life from never-never land: Trusting priest was betrayed. A Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Cleveland, “known as a gentle man—a vegan, yogi and massage therapist,” was arrested for growing marijuana in the rectory. His friends blame the misfortune on betrayal by a drifter the priest had taken in and allowed to live with him. As one said, “He sticks his neck out and that is exactly the kind of people we need in the ministry. But sometimes you pay a price.” It’s all about moral courage, you see.

I have no idea whether Fr. Arko is mostly a good man with some obvious weaknessess or mostly a corrupt man who puts on New Agey “virtue” as a front. Somehow his purchase and renovation of a private house for himself and his three dogs suggests to me that vegan or not he’s no Saint Francis. What seems clear though is that at least in Cleveland the idea of what a Catholic priest is and does has become extraordinarily confused. As the recent scandals show, that’s a very bad thing for a body of men put in a position of spiritual authority and left to operate mostly on their own.

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