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Publishers Weekly, 2000-05-15 "Before we puzzle over the X Files, let's read the M files," writes Varghese, claiming that such phenomena as UFO sightings may actually represent apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Varghese's exposition of 33 appearances of Mary to mystics, seers and saints throughout Church history is unlikely to convince anyone not already predisposed to believe. He asserts, for example, that a rosary prayer circle in post-World War II Austria was responsible for the Soviets pulling out of the country in 1955, an event for which there was no "humanly plausible explanation." (A decade of pressure from the Allies and a pledge of nonalignment from the Austrians suggests otherwise.) Still, anyone interested in contemporary religious experience will benefit from this book, which collects stories of Marian appearances in places such as Lourdes and Fatima along with some of the purported revelations given there. Despite the impact of secularism, reports of appearances by Mary exploded in the 20th century, so much so that many devotees believe we are living in a final "Marian age," standing on the brink of a "great chastisement" to be followed by Armageddon. Though Catholic leaders officially keep such ideas at arm's length, they are passionately held by millions of believers. Anyone who wants to understand popular Catholicism would be well served to study the material Varghese has gathered here. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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