Tracing devotion to Mary to psychological and historical processes that began in the fifth century, Michael Carroll answers intriguing questions: What explains the many reports of Marian apparitions over the centuries? Why is Mary both "Virgin" and "Mother" simultaneously? Why has the Marian cult always been stronger in certain geographical areas than in others? The first half of the book presents a psychoanalytic explanation for the most salient facts about the Marian cult and the second addresses the question of Marian apparitions.
"The contention is made that at the root of the Marian cult is the poverty-created father-ineffective family, a family structure in which Oedipal desires in both sons and daughters are intensified... [A] fascinating and provocative read."--Elizabeth A. Johnson, Journal of Church and State "[Recommended] not only for the wealth of information and the carefully wrought argument that it presents, but also for its potential utility in destroying or at least casting doubt on the idols that prevent us from seeing more clearly and more insightfully the bases of faith and theological conviction."--W. W. Meissner, S.J., M.D., Theological Studies