The Diocese of Cleveland has announced that Fr. Richard Arko, the yoga-teaching priest arrested after pot plants were found growing in his rectory, won’t be allowed back to his parish. I found the auxiliary bishop’s comments eerily familiar:
“We are confused and concerned that this man who has done so much good could allow marijuana to be growing in his church residence,” said Bishop Martin J. Amos, auxiliary bishop for the southern portion of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, on Sunday.
How about the 1996 letter from Cardinal Law to John Geoghan upon the priest’s long overdue “retirement” from ministry: “Yours has been an effective life of ministry, sadly impaired by illness.” Once again I am left to ask why bishops feel like they have to soft pedal the wrongdoing of priests. Here you had a long-haired, dope-smoking priest (no word on whether he was maggot-infested and FM-listening) who taught Eastern mysticism as a yoga instructor and you wonder how this could have happened? No one noticed anything awry? No hints in his homilies? None of the other priests in the deanery thought Arko was kind of odd?
Besides, just how much good could Arko have been doing from within the cloud of pot smoke hanging over his head?