Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thinking about sexual attraction and infatuation as 'romantic love' in friendship...

"Whatever is founded on mere sensuality, vanity, or frivolity, is unworthy to be called friendship. I mean such attractions as are purely external; a sweet voice, personal beauty, and the cleverness or outward show which have great weight with some. You will often hear women and young people gay men unhesitatingly decide that such an one is very delightful, very admirable, because he is good-looking, well-dressed, sings, or dances, or talks well. Even charlatans esteem the wittiest clown amongst them as their best man. But all these things are purely sensual, and the connections built on such foundation must be vain and frivolous, more fitly to be called trifling than friendship. They spring up chiefly among young people, gay men who are easily fascinated by personal attractions, dress, and gossip—friendships in which the tailor and hairdresser have the chief part. How can such friendships be other than shortlived, melting away like snow wreaths in the sun!" - St. Francis De Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life


  1. Terry, do you have a special can opener for those cans of worms you open?

    What do you do with all the worms?


  2. Merc - I don't think anyone will really react or respond to this post.

    I've been thinking of doing a sort of paraphrase of the Saint's writings on friendship geared to that particular audience since 'normal' heterosexuals no longer take such counsel serious in our permissive culture. It seems to me the moral parameters De Sales counsels, along with the very idea of regulating ones passions has fallen out of favor these days, they might just be more applicable for same sex attracted individuals who are trying to remain chaste and celibate.

    Then again, maybe not.

  3. Ha, I see.

    I think "normal heterosexuals" who are trying to be chaste do take it seriously, though sometimes I find the saints confusing (surprise!).

    For example, I have female friends and colleagues whose company I enjoy (sometimes more than males) - what I mean is that I like these friends AS women, but I am very careful to not get caught in one-on-one situations, and also not to let any undue emotional attachment develop, since I AM married.

    Yet the saints seem to caution against any opposite sex friendship whatsoever - women are radioactive sin uranium, after all. St. Alphonsus even recommends that people preparing to be married meet each other no more than once or twice! ... and the saints who directly state or imply that even passive sexual attraction is nothing but either actual sin or a gateway to it are too numerous to count.

    So I just try to know what my limits are, and make sure I'm doing what's right. And I make DAMN sure I still wear my wedding ring at all times - now THAT's a conversation piece that forces me to explain my faith!

  4. I think that's a great idea Terry.

    And Merc, I think you might want to talk to a knowledgeable priest about these issues :-)


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