Caritas has nothing to do with cupiditas.
Sometimes - it seems to me - gay people don't really know how to have friends.
If they have to endlessly write and research friendship, it seems to me they just don't know how to make friends or keep friends. Get all upset with me if you want, but one theory as to why some people turn out gay in the first place is because they felt excluded - friendless. In childhood, it wasn't uncommon for some to have had trouble with same sex peers - they didn't fit in, weren't accepted, couldn't make friends, felt inferior, and so on and so forth. Of course it's a theory which is roundly denied by gay people today - which, BTW could be the result of repressed memories perhaps? It only had to happen once or twice, or be inflicted on a person by the same bully for an extended period of time to cause damage to the ego. Like I said - most people will dismiss that notion as unsubstantiated and unverifiable. That's fine.
But why do they constantly talk about loneliness and friendship and not fitting in then?
Why don't gay people know how to make friends without sexualizing-eroticizing the experience on some level? If you are really nice to someone, want to hang out with someone, does that mean you want to be intimate? If someone smiles at me does that mean we should touch? Especially when it is 'friendship at first sight'? I think a lot of gay people think it does - or quickly leads to that level of seriousness. Or else they just don't know how to be friends - normal BFF's. Normal attraction. Normal joy in friendship. Do they get it or not? Why do they over-analyze it then? Sounds to me as if something may indeed be disordered.
One could write a book on the subject or fill a blog about the challenges of friendship - because people - straight and gay - don't know how to be friends with one another. I'm talking about close friendship. It's becoming a science today, especially amongst gays who want a close, live-in or close-by, best friend with whom they can lay their heads upon one another's chest and watch TV together or nap.
See! Right there! They don't know how to be just friends - they have to complicate it. Then they write volumes on what it is, what it means, sort of like how far one can go before one ejaculates? Involuntarily, of course.
St. Aelred's Spiritual Friendship
Deacon Jim Russell tackles the Spiritual Friendship group's reinterpretation of St. Aelred's treatise by the same name. I've written on this topic very often in the past - on my blog and the comboxes of other blogs. Gratefully, Deacon Jim takes up the matter on his own and helps to clear up the misunderstandings and errors the SF writers have layered on top of a very useful treatise on the subject of spiritual friendship - as differentiated from spiritual same-sex-lover-friendship-lust.
Read Deacon Jim's essay here. I disagree with nothing that he writes - I'm grateful that he corrects what is misleading in the reinterpretation of Spiritual Friendship for the same sex attracted person. Deacon mentions how academics and many of the Spiritual Friendship scholars insist St. Aelred was gay, and he politely dismisses it. I tend to be a bit more vehement about it - simply because the vice was considered exactly that - a mortal sin not to be entertained on any level of consciousness. Aelred wouldn't have tolerated it, much less provided for it. I've written about it here.
"If you want to be “spiritual friends” with someone, whether you have same-sex attraction or not won’t make a difference." - Deacon Russell
There is nothing wrong with gleaning what is true, what is pure, what is noble from the saints on friendship, but to manipulate the teaching to permit some sort of approbation on exclusive same sex romantic friendship is in error. Perhaps privately one might consider these ideas in reassessing friendship in accord with Catholic teaching, but it certainly can't be taught as an alternative to same sex marriage and promoting a queer chaste vowed friendship. That is 'spiritually retarded' at best - to use a real term from Garrigou-Lagrange. Again, Deacon Jim speaks directly to that notion and does so very well.
I will close this with what Deacon Jim closes his essay with, my apologies this post is so long - but I really wanted to offer my POV as well, since I didn't comment on the Crises essay.
What “Spiritual Friendship” is Not
So, what about the “vowed friendships,” solemnized by publicly professed vows culminating in the Eucharist, for same-sex “friends”? The New Homophiles are proposing that two people with SSA should be able to publicly vow lifelong commitment to one another, within their Church communities.
St. Aelred’s writing doesn’t support this notion, for two main reasons. First, we’ve just noted that “exclusivity” is not a feature of spiritual friendship. Second, as mentioned above regarding the temporal vows of marriage, spiritual friendship has to do with a union, in Christ, that is endless rather than earthly. Making a vow of friendship is superfluous to the meaning St. Aelred actually gives to spiritual friendship, which is already by nature an everlasting bond, if authentic. Plus, it would be presumptuous for two persons to try to make and extend such a vow to apply to eternity (what if both of you don’t end up in heaven?). No, spiritual friendship is not about nuptial or family bonds—nor would it seem possible that St. Aelred would have viewed exclusive friendship vows as being in any way compatible with the vows the monks themselves take in order to form the broader monastic community.
In conclusion, St. Aelred deserves to have the rubric of “spiritual friendship” returned to him, unaltered. If you want to be “spiritual friends” with someone, whether you have same-sex attraction or not won’t make a difference. Just do what St. Aelred did: set aside everything that is carnal or worldly; seek spiritual progress toward Christian perfection and intimate union with the Divine; and prayerfully choose, test, and accept those others who have done similarly, with whom you can experience the spiritual heights of “love of neighbor” both in this life and the next.
Then, and only then, will you really have the beginning of a beautiful—and spiritual—friendship. - Crises
I will be adding something to this in the future. A friend sent me some information on the subject from an Orthodox perspective, and I'd like to share it when I get a chance. As I mentioned, this post is long enough.
Photo: Characters from Grantchester: James Norton as Sidney Chambers and Robson Green as Inspector Geordie Keating. I use the photo as a reference to their friendship which develops with the series. Neither are gay but their close friendship offers a good insight into close friendship between men. We've frequently seen the same type of close friendship in war films and films depicting military buddies.