Monday, April 27, 2015

The New Homophiles vs. St. Aelred on Spiritual Friendship

“Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.…”

When Humphrey Bogart’s character Rick closes the classic film Casablanca with these memorable words, there is no mistaking what he means. Rick and Louie anticipate a mutually respectful—and beneficial—relationship, arising from their past shared experiences and based upon continuing common interests.

Perhaps that’s enough to make their friendship “beautiful”—but what makes a friendship spiritual?

Rewind the clock back beyond World-War-II Morocco to a twelfth-century Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx in North Yorkshire, England, and you’ll find an answer. Here you’ll encounter the slightly famous St. Aelred, now known to some as the “gay abbot of Rievaulx” and author of a notable work titled Spiritual Friendship.

Wait—“gay abbot of Rievaulx”? Based on what evidence?  (more...)

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