Listers, thank you for another wonderful year. SPL seeks to provide you with timeless lists that catalogue various aspects of the Catholic faith. The 2013 Top Ten List demonstrates the diversity of those aspects by listing everything from Trappist Ales to images of Mary breastfeeding. If you’d like to compare 2013 with 2012 please visit Catholic Countdown: The Top 20 Lists of 2012.


10. POPE FRANCIS: 30 Photos and Memes from his Election

Habemus papam, Franciscum! Posted on March 13, 2013, SPL collected 30 of the more popular photographs and memes circling social media in response to the election of Pope Francis to the Apostolic Throne of St. Peter.

Cardina Bergoglio reportedly kissing the foot of an aids patient.
Cardina Bergoglio reportedly kissing the foot of an aids patient.

francis gay marriage

For the entire gallery and a few notable quotes from other Jesuits on the election of Pope Francis, visit POPE FRANCIS: 30 Photos and Memes from his Election.


9. 5 English Hymns Every Catholic Should Know

Though posted on August 7, 2012, this list of English hymns continued to be popular throughout 2013. One of the recommended hymns is Immaculate Mary. Also known as the “Lourdes Hymn,” this triumphant hymn of praise to our Lady is believed to have been written by Abbe Gaignet and adapted to a traditional French folk tune. When sung at the Lourdes Shrine, there can be as many as sixty different verses!

Please visit 5 English Hymns Every Catholic Should Know for the complete list with a brief background on each selection. Though not making the top ten this year, the list has two popular counterparts: Glory of Rome: 5 Latin Hymns Every Catholic Should Know and Splendor of the East: 5 Byzantine Hymns Every Catholic Should Know.


8. Top 10 Catholic News Sites of 2012

Originally posted in August of 2012, the list remained a source of faithful Catholic news outlets throughout 2013. The list names ten faithful Catholic news sites, several other sites that the listers recommended, and two dishonorable mentions.

Vatican News

One of the newest news platforms to be highlighted that year was the NEWS.VA from the Vatican. The official news site of the Vatican offers the faithful brief news articles on the Pope and the Church, videos of His Holiness and multiple news outlets: Fides News Agency, the L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican Press Office, Vatican Information Service, Vatican Radio and CTV. The site is extremely useful for those seeking primary sources and full texts, and those interested in keeping tabs on the workings of the Roman Curia.

Please visit Top 10 Catholic News Sites to view the entire list with commentary.


7. The 8 Prayers Every Catholic Should Know in Latin

The list was posted in October of 2012 and immediately setoff a firestorm of comments on the role of Latin in the “Post-Vatican II Church.” The list originally had seven prayers, but was later updated to include the Angelus as the eighth. The introduction to the list attempted to predict certain critiques of Latin in the Church by addressing Vatican II:

Listers in 1978 Bl. Pope John Paul II said, “We exhort you all to lift up high the torch of Latin which is even today a bond of unity among peoples of all nations.” Even Vatican II and Pope John XXIII lauded Latin and asked that it remain the universal language of the Church; however, today the Roman Church has turned its back on Latin and blamed it on the ever-shifting spectre or “spirit” of Vatican II. SPL collected 14 quotes on the importance of Latin in the Church and drew many from the actual Vatican II documents and from post-Vatican II popes. Continuing in this proper understanding of Sacred Tradition, it is only fitting that the listers have a list to help them develop their use of Latin. The following prayers are all the prayers one would need to pray the Holy Rosary in Latin. Enjoy.

The list noted in the introduction was intended to curtail the belief that Vatican II called for Latin to be eliminated in the Roman rite; however, even quotes from Vatican II itself are often ignored in favor of the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II.”

Visit The 8 Prayers Every Catholic Should Know in Latin and please practice these prayers in the universal and sacred language of the Church.


6. The 10 Authentic Trappist Monk Beers

Originally posted on August 11, 2011 as the “The 7 Authentic Trappist Ales,” it was updated on December 20, 2013 to include three new additions to the Trappist Ale family. The post was ranked #10 in popularity in 2012. The list explains was it means to be an “Authentic Trappist Ale” and gives the background of each monastery.

In 1997, eight Trappist abbeys—six from Belgium (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle and Achel), one from the Netherlands (Koningshoeven) and one from Germany (Mariawald) – founded the International Trappist Association (ITA) to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from abusing the Trappist name.

Beers from eight of the ten currently recognised Trappist breweries: Achel, Chimay, Gregorius, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Westvleteren. Credit: Philip Rowlands, Wikipedia.
Beers from eight of the ten currently recognised Trappist breweries: Achel, Chimay, Gregorius, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Westvleteren. Credit: Philip Rowlands, Wikipedia.

This private association created a logo that is assigned to goods (cheese, beer, wine, etc.) that respect precise production criteria. For the beers, these criteria are the following:

  1. The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks. The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
  2. The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.
  3. This association has a legal standing, and its logo gives to the consumer some information and guarantees about the produce.

    To read about all the Trappist Ales and the monasteries that produce them visit The 10 Authentic Trappist Ales. SPL offers several lists related to Catholicism and Beer - to browse them please visit our thread on Beer.


5. Quotes from Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, on 7 Moral Issues

Posted on March 14, 2013, the list of quotes is the counterpart to the SPL list of images ranked #10 on this list. The list catalogues several quotes from Cardinal Bergoglio on hot topic moral issues.

On Abortion:

He once called abortion a “death sentence” for unborn children, during a 2007 speech and likening opposition to abortion to opposition to the death penalty.

In an October 2, 2007 speech Bergoglio said that “we aren’t in agreement with the death penalty,” but “in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.”

On Reception of the Eucharist:

“We should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”

The list includes other quotes on homosexuality, poverty, euthanasia, children, and politics. Visit Quotes from Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, on 7 Moral Issues to read the quotes with their sources.


4. 7 Things You Must Know about St. Benedict’s Medal

Posted on November 9, 2012, the list did not make it to the rankings of 2012; however, the list became immensely popular in 2013. The list catalogues the story of St. Benedict and the medal, the details of the medal itself, and the reasons the medal is worn. For example, here is a description of the front of the medal:



One side of the medal bears an image of St. Benedict, holding a cross in the right hand and the Holy Rule in the left. On the one side of the image is a cup, on the other a raven, and above the cup and the raven are inscribed the words: “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti” (Cross of the Holy Father Benedict). Round the margin of the medal stands the legend “Ejus in obitu nostro praesentia muniamus” (May we at our death be fortified by his presence).

To understand the back of the medal, its history, and those evils it helps ward against please visit 7 Things You Must Know About St. Benedict’s Medal.


3. St. Josemaria’s 17 Signs of a Lack of Humility

Posted on March 18, 2013, the 17 Signs of a Lack of Humility has been as instructive as it has been controversial. The instruction is found in the list itself, while the controversy is found in the various reactions to the list in the comment box. The introduction to the list draws upon St. Thomas Aquinas, stating, “Humility is a virtue which we all ought to develop to bring ourselves in greater conformity with Christ as we seek ‘to temper and restrain the mind, lest it tend to high things immoderately.’” Here is a sampling of St. Josemaria’s take on a lack of humility:

  • Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so.
  • Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation.
  • Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you.
  • Refusing to carry out menial tasks.

    For the complete list, please visit St. Josemaria’s 17 Signs of a Lack of Humility.

2. Our Lady of Milk: 20 Images of Mother Mary Nursing

Despite being posted on November 10, the latecomer to 2013 quickly gained incredible popularity. One factor was certainly the growing societal criticism of mothers who breastfed their children in public. The criticism of mothers breastfeeding had grown so loud within Western culture that even Pope Francis felt the need to publicly support mothers breastfeeding in public. The Holy Pontiff stated:

“There are so many children that cry because they are hungry. At the Wednesday General Audience the other day there was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few months old. The child was crying its eyes out as I came past. The mother was caressing it. I said to her: “Madam, I think the child’s hungry.” “Yes, it’s probably time…,” she replied. “Please give it something to eat!” I said. She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat! That woman had milk to give to her child; we have enough food in the world to feed everyone.”

Another factor is certainly North America’s Puritan culture being absolutely inexperienced with images of Mary’s breast. Though common in Latino/Hispanic cultures both in South America and in Europe, the images are quite foreign to many inside the United States.

Credit: La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group, edited.
Credit: La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group, edited.
"Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Leonard and Peter," c. 1270.
“Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Leonard and Peter,” c. 1270.

To view the entire gallery please visit Our Lady of Milk: 20 Images of Mother Mary Nursing.


1. When Santa Punched a Heretic in the Face: 13 Memes on St. Nicholas

Posted November 30, 2013, the collection of memes relating to St. Nicholas’ famous slap/punch skyrocketed in popularity. Though it was released late in 2013, the list earned the most popular list that year. The list reads, ”During the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (AD 325), Arius was called upon to defend his position on the inferiority of Christ. Saint Nicholas just couldn’t listen to all of Arius’ nonsense and so he stood up and laid in to Arius with his fist.”

Nicholas Icon Meme 2

Santa Nichols Meme Police

View more memes and read about how St. Nicholas was stripped of his title of bishop after his (in)famous slap and how he recovered the position at When Santa Punched a Heretic in the Face: 13 Memes on St. Nicholas.