Friendship apart and above sex is a very important value. It is pretty shameful that this value is hardly ever promoted by the Church, whereas it is central to Christ's teaching and example.
The "vocabulary of friendship" is sorely in need of being recovered. However, this has got nothing to do with masculinity or femininity. Friendship has no regard to matters of sex and/or gender; it is a rational relationship not based on instinctive animal nature but "para physin" - beyond nature.
I would be amazed to learn that Newman and Ambrose St John were ever genitally intimate. Newman, at least, was a very temperate man and even should he have been inclined in such a way, I doubt that he would have acted in such a way that he would have (I am sure) felt would have compromised his life-long vow of sexual continence.
It is however more amazing that - given the explicit evidence of Newman's writing concerning Ambrose St John - that anyone could believe that Newman was not "homosexual" in the only worthwhile sense of being deeply and passionately in love with another man. The only explanation for a refusal to account Newman as "homosexual" - though sexually continent - is the idea that to be "homosexual" is itself wicked. If this is not the case, what is the harm in believing that Newman and his beloved ambrose were not "homosexual".
I have had many close male friends, for whom I have felt the kind of love and affection which Newman describes feeling for Ambrose. None of them has ever systematically returned this kind of affection. In fact all of them - apart from my long term partner - has rejected my friendship, when nothing else has ever been demanded of them. The difference between these "friends" and me is that I self-identify as gay and am happy and comfortable with male-male affection, whereas they all self-identify as "str8" and are incapable of such affection and in fact find it threatening.
Until I see clear examples of sustained male-male affection which are clearly not attributable to "homosexual orientation" I will prefer to believe that wherever there is a deeply felt, passionate and unaffectedly expressed same gender friendship there is "homosexuality". I have no problem with this, as I don't think that:
1. Homosexuality is wicked in any way.
2. A homosexual relationship *has* to be expressed in sexual intimacy any more than a heterosexual relationship *has* to be so expressed.