Jun 29, 2018

Catholic Prep Schools #1: Otherworldly Contemplation or Beefcake?

I have always been attracted to Roman Catholic guys, probably due to the anti-Catholic sermons and Sunday school lessons I heard growing up Nazarene.  They were dark and dangerous, full of secrets and hidden agendas, black magic, alchemy, Satanism.  They had looked into the Abyss.  They knew things.

The other kids in my church and at Nazarene summer camp told a somewhat different story.  Catholics had no morals.  They broke all of the 10 Commandments before breakfast.  They drank -- right in their services!  They worshipped idols.  They had sex with anyone they wanted, anything they wanted.  And they wanted it all the time.

Brother Reno, my Sunday school teacher, was an ex-Catholic.  He had eight children.  That means that he had sex at least eight times!

Raw erotic power.

In high school, I became obsessed with all things Catholic: I read The Seven-Storey Mountain and The Dark Night of the Soul, went to Catholic masses incognito, visited St. Ambrose College across the river in Davenport and Marian University in Fond du Lac, and got a different impression of Catholics:  pristine and pure, otherworldly, kneeling before a statue of the Blessed Virgin in rapt contemplation of the Divine. 

So I researched the top Catholic boys' schools in the U.S., to see if they emphasize prayer or muscles, novenas to the Blessed Virgin or raw, raucous sports, contemplation or beefcake.

1. Regis Jesuit, New York, a commuter school for 500 boys, is just a building on 84th street in Manhattan, with no medieval cloisters or Gregorian chant going on.

 It offers baseball, basketball, soccer, track, and ultimate frisbee, so I found some athletes from their competitors.

Score:  0 on both counts.

2. Delbarton School, Morristown, New Jersey, is on the former estate of Luther Kountz, purchased by the monks of St. Mary's Abbey in 1925.  Students come from 60 cities in 8 countries.

It offers soccer, hockey, tennis, lacrosse, and wrestling.

The school is currently facing lawsuits alleging that teachers and a former headmaster sexually abused over 50 students.

That was 30 years ago; I'm sure the staff today is able to look at cute wrestlers without touching.

And the chapel is amazing.

Score: Contemplation 1, Beefcake 1

3. Cistercian Prep, Irving, Texas, training "future husbands, fathers, and leaders."  All teachers live in a Cistercian Monastery nearby (I count 26 of them).

Cistercians are Trappists, the community that Thomas Merton belonged to, all about simplicity.  Their chapel looks rather claustrophobic.  Would it kill them to put in some stained glass windows and a nice triptych?

They only offer baseball, tennis, and track, but it does result in some nice physiques.

Score:  Contemplation 0, Beefcake 1

4. Strake Jesuit College Prep, in Houston, is training "men for others."  Could I have a few sent over?

With over a thousand students, it's the biggest Catholic school in Texas.  It looks like a college, with dining halls, dorms, even an art museum.  All hard, straight lines, brown adobe, glass-and-steel.

At least it offers swimming, and some nice swimsuits.

Score: Contemplation 0, Beefcake 1

5. Sacred Hearts Schools in Atherton, California.  1,200 students, from preschool through 12th grade, separate schools for boys and girls. 60% of the students identify as Catholic.  They all participate in service learning, going out into the community to help people.

The 64-acre campus includes a barnyard with goats, ducks, and chickens.

And weird non-representational public art.

There's an Olympic swimming pool, a weight room, an all-weather track, and 3 gyms.

They have water polo.

And wrestling.

Score: Contemplation 0, Beefcake 1.

So far it's not looking good for otherworldly prayer and meditation, but there are five schools left to check out.

See also: Catholic Prep Schools #2.


  1. The sculpture looked like a stylized heart to me.

  2. I attended Regis' brother Jesuit school in NYC in the mid to late 80's Xavier High School.The bullying and Homophobia were so horrible I can't find strong enough words to even begin to describe it. Neither beefcake or scapulars were stressed hate and cruelty were.I love this blog and don't want to bum everyone out. But I felt compelled to comment on the evils of all boys Catholic Prep schools. A subject I unfortunately know all to well.

    1. Many secular high schools were just as bad. I was in high school in the 1970s, when gay people were never mentioned and assumed not to exist, but "fairies" and "fags", unathletic boys, were constantly under attack.


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