Interestingly, Marian Apparitions were virtually unknown before the 1830’s, but since then they have been occurring with ever more frequency. It is also quite fascinating that by far the largest number of Marian Apparitions have occurred in France. Some would consider this rather bizarre since France was the epicenter of the Age of Enlightenment and the explosion of scientific knowledge. In fact, when you peer more closely at this synchronous relationship, it makes perfect sense. Anywhere that science takes hold and deconstructs the established spiritual conformity of thought, there will always be a certain faction that dig their heels in even deeper and become more fervently convinced of the validity of their religious ideals. It really should come as no surprise that the country that gave us Rousseau and Voltaire should have given birth to a large number of people who became convinced that they were engaging in conversation with a Jewish mother who had died nearly two-thousand years ago who informed them about the coming of electricity, World War II and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.
It should perhaps also not be too surprising that the increased appearances of Lady Madonna should be carrying messages of political and social import. What may be surprising is that many of these messages carried by the Virgin Mother have contained an ideology closer to capitalism than to the socialist message contained within the words of Jesus Christ in scripture. One thing that is definitely not surprising is how often these Marian Apparitions contain words of encouragement for a better life for those who believe. In other words, the Marian Apparitions never question the validity of the Catholic Church, but instead usually seem to act as spokeswomen. For this reason, many skeptics have proposed the notion that most, if not all, Marian Apparitions are not just frauds and works of charlatans, but that the Catholic Church has actually been behind them. Lending credence to these accusations that is there seems to be a spike in Marian Apparitions during periods when faith in the Church is most challenged. In recent years, for instance, there have been more Marian Apparitions than there were during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Skeptics attribute this spike to the controversy faced by the Catholic Church over the scandals involving sexual abuse by priests.
When it all comes down to the facts, however, the evidence that the Catholic Church is actually involved in any way with these Marian Apparitions as there is any evidence that the apparitions are real. The main problem with the Marian Apparitions is that the visions of the Virgin Mary always appear to be similar to the Renaissance conception of the woman rather than bearing any similarity to a woman with the Semitic features that the real mother of Jesus would have exhibited. We may never know for sure whether Marian Apparitions are real or fake or the work of the Church. Though the answer does seem rather obvious.