Friday, August 21, 2015

Joseph Prever and same-sex friendship.

You've got to have friends.

Friends of Joe Prever feel he was 'picked on' for his tweets at a recent Courage sponsored conference in Detroit.  I wrote about that here.

That is what happens when we discuss same sex attraction, gay and Catholic stuff.  Clarity on Catholic teaching is a necessity.  Perhaps that was mentioned at the conference - I'm sure that was the expectation.  Candid, albeit public tweets by participant and invited guest Joe Prever concerned some people and an online discussion ensued.  That's good - because, as I say, clarity on Catholic teaching is a necessity.  (As for infiltration of the Church by gay activists - that already happened and has been the case for decades.  Dignity, New Ways Ministry, and others have influenced Catholic teaching and pastoral care on the parish and scholastic level for years.)

The Spiritual Friendship model has been invited to the table.

Joe Prever is a work in progress, as we all are.  There is nothing wrong with challenging a public speaker.  That said, his message is out there.  What it amounts to is very similar to discussions within Courage groups - honest, forthright, discussion regarding the difficulties involved in dealing with same sex attraction, isolation, loneliness, temptations against chastity and so on.  Prever discusses the need for friendship and support - disinterested friendship - meaning without inordinate attachment or affection.  Not mixing it up with sexual fantasy or neurotic fears of 'an occasion of sin' in having a 'guy' as a close friend and confidant.  When we talk that way - sometimes it sounds like we are trying to find a way to have a lover, or boy friend friendship, or partner-type intimate friendship.  And so that is why public speakers and authors find themselves challenged.

Prever's presentation is getting more press, which affords a different perspective on the intent and purpose of his presentation at the conference.  It's helpful to consider his POV within the context of his experience.
True friendship is vital in helping young people who are struggling with same-sex attraction but trying to live a chaste lifestyle, said a prominent gay Catholic blogger. 
“We love when we make ourselves vulnerable,” said blogger Joseph Prever who writes under the pseudonym Steve Gershom for a blog with the tagline, “Catholic, gay, and feeling fine.” Prever was speaking at an international conference on pastoral care for those experiencing same-sex attraction, organized by the Catholic ministry Courage.
In his talk titled “The Curse of the Ouroboros: Notes On Friendship,” he explained how close, chaste friendships can help young people experiencing same-sex attractions escape a self-destructive cycle that can result from an excessive inward-focus.
“A lot of people struggle with being sort of inward-turned, sort of self-enclosed, sort of unable to engage people in actual person-to-person relationships, because you’re so concerned with maintaining your own self-image, maintaining your image in other people’s minds,” he said in an interview after his talk.
“So for me, the struggle has always been learning to sort of unknot that knot, and a large part of the way that has happened in my life has been via friendships, both in learning to let other people see into my interior and to sort of help me when I was not quite willing to be helped,” he said.
“And also learning to reach out and help other people who are in even worse, or just different, spots.” - CNA
They're here ... and you know ...

The Spiritual Friendship Movement has achieved recognition by many Catholics, and their representatives are invited to speak here and there, while their writings are being read by Catholic clergy and laity.  So I'll reiterate, it is entirely appropriate for Catholics to challenge these spokesmen whenever there may be some confusion regarding Catholic teaching, pastoral care, or conscientious objection to the notion that gay is a third way.  Nothing wrong with that.  God bless those courageous enough to act as 'devil's advocate' in these contentious times.

These people are criticized right and left - as most gay people are.  In September Ron Belgau will be speaking at Philadelphia's World Meeting of Families.  LGBT activists do not think it's enough, nor do they think Belgau is relevant since he represents the tiniest minority of LGBTQ Catholics in this country.

See.  That's part of the problem folks... LGBTQ activists will tolerate those who choose celibacy - but don't force it or even propose it for the rest of them.  Hence the confusion.  Which is exactly why concerned Catholics and clerics need to clarify what 'gay-Catholics' are attempting to 'teach' and 'propagate'?  Oh - so you are worried such discussions will turn people away and not attract them to the Church?  It doesn't deter me.  Anyway - the Holy Spirit attracts people - not to worry.

Don't forget, LGBTQ and gender issues are huge issues threatening the Church and family and they should be the concern of parents and clergy alike.

Yeah, so toughen up.


  1. I think its funny that the "Crisis," people are all up in arms about the constant talk about "Gay," and that is the majority of the articles on the site and sparks the most amount of discussion (granted its the same five people saying the same five things....)

    However, this Spiritual Friendship thing, as much as I have sympathy for them, is as my Dad would say, " A load of CRAP!" If you want to be celibate be on that, and get the support you need, but if you don't want to, then don't. But you can't live in a neither here nor there world, where you have a "committed," friendship but no sex (which uh, isn't that what friendship is???) And if you are indeed wanting to stay celibate, isnt that the "occassion of sin," to be in a committed relationship with one person who you "love." I have to admit, the hyperventilating of the Crisis people and the naval gazing of the Spiritual Friendship people and the bickering between the two is rather entertaining to watch.

    That being said..I would take a nap with Joey ANY DAY...Ross is way too dull and annoying for him.

    1. Mack, I don't often agree with what you say but this I'm completely on board with. The whole spiritual friendship thing I just don't get.It's like friends WITHOUT benefits. Aren't these people just my friends. What you said, isn't a committed relationship with no sex just what friendship has always been. And I hate over spiritualising any relationships. I don't think we can ever really be objective about ourselves and motives.

    2. I agree with both of you.

  2. But Mack, you're ignoring that the Church teaches that to be Catholic is to believe and profess all the Church teaches and that the Church teaches celibacy outside of marriage and holds firm to the Biblical definition of marriage (between one man and one woman just in case anyone reading isn't clear on that).

    Joey is so dumb though. He wouldn't understand your intentions. Do you remember the episode where he revealed the manner in which the tailor measured him?

    1. Oh Joey knew exactly what my intentions were and he LOVED it!

      LOL I was referring (and I think Terry may have been to) to the episode where Joey and Ross fall asleep on the couch and they end up cuddled up together with Ross laying on it freaked them out but "it was the best nap EVER" as one of them said and at the end of the episode they ran back to Joey's to do it again. That was about as gay as TV got back then.

    2. Nan - there used to be a shop Downtown St. Paul where one of the store clerks always measured the same way Joey's tailor did. All the guys talked about it. Joey just pretended to be dumb. LOL!

  3. It seems to me that a lot of arguments about emotionally charged issues are between what one person meant to say and another person thought he said.

    1. You are right - also 'tone' plays a huge part. Everyone seems to be very sensitive.

    2. And "tone" is open to even worse misinterpretations.


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