The apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Guadalupe in Mexico are unique in the annals of Marian apparitions because this Lady allegedly left physical evidence behind her. The evidence is the painting of the vision made by herself in an instant of time on the cloak of the only witness, Juan Diego. This image is called the Tilma. If she did this then apparitions without this or similar evidence have to be dubious. Why give stronger proof for the Lady of Guadalupe and not the Lady of Lourdes or Pontmain or Fatima? And as for her strong evidence, why did she even bother considering that there is no evidence that the cloth and the image go back to 1531 when she supposedly presented them to the world!

Catholic doctrine says that apparitions are optional for belief and are not part of the Catholic faith. So you can believe but it is not a gift from God or assisted by God as believing in the gospels would be. Considering that the ten commandments ban images that God has not clearly and fully authorised the tilma must be considered an idol.  There are ten commandments. The second commandment forbids images.  Catholics say this is not the second commandment.  To make up the ten we are meant to believe God gave a command not to covet a man's property and another one not to covet his wife!  Coveting is just coveting so the Church just made a break there to get around the commandment banning images.  The Bible God only allows images when there is a clear scriptural command.

One objection to Guadalupe is that the origin of the picture is not based on any definite reliable source.  It is only hearsay.  Nobody has with authority claimed that the painting is a miracle or painted by Mary or some angel. The vision never said it either which is very important.

The first vision took place on the site of the pagan mother Goddess in 1531. The bishop was informed that a beautiful Lady had appeared saying she was the Virgin Mother of God. The bishop asked for a sign before he would believe. His name was Zumarraga and in his writings there is no mention of visions or Tepeyac where they supposedly happened - see page 183, The Cult of the Virgin Mary, Psychological Origins, Michael P Carroll, Princeton, New Jersey, 1986. And I add that there was no mention of Juan Diego! Accounts of images at Tepeyac at the time speak of statues being venerated there not the tilma (page 185, The Cult of the Virgin Mary, Psychological Origins, Michael P Carroll, Princeton, New Jersey, 1986). It probably did not exist then.
In other apparitions, the Virgin gives no sign but the conviction and normalcy and rapid spiritual progress of the witness so one wonders why that did not suffice here. Please do not think that spiritual progress is a great sign for anybody would pretend to be good when the eyes of their fans are on them. The Church will shout that we must not be so cynical and why not just believe? I have two things to say. Realistically people do often pretend to be better than what they are. All we are doing is acknowledging that fact. And as for the why not just believe advice we can ask why just not believe? The Church cannot complain if we don’t believe for it is our right not to. Yet it does complain. There is no way I can stand the Church complaining – its just a sign of its intolerance. If you have an equal choice between believing a strange claim and not believing in it, evidently if you are rational you will not believe.
Jesus said that asking for signs before being willing to believe was tempting God. God does signs when he wishes and not for people who urge him to do a sign before they will believe. Here, the Virgin evidently disagrees with Jesus and the Bible and God panders to the bishop’s wish for a sign. She gives him a miracle picture and roses that bloomed out of season to boot. She must be better than God. Theologically, the visions must be ascribed to Satan which implies that Satan wants Mary to be prayed to and believed to be mother of God and ever-Virgin. They really refute Christendom and Catholicism. The perpetual Virginity and the Virgin birth are unbiblical legends. And the deity of Christ appears nowhere in the New Testament. The whole story is too similar to a Spanish legend that is much older. The place name, Guadalupe, even appears in both stories (page 31, Looking for a Miracle).
And in both stories a miracle image is provided of Mary, the vision happens to an older man on a hill, a man who had been married, a relative was granted salvation from death and a shrine was asked for (page 187, The Cult of the Virgin Mary, Psychological Origins, Michael P Carroll, Princeton, New Jersey, 1986).

It is interesting that the roses which the Virgin made have rotted away. They were Castilian roses from Spain. They were unavailable in Mexico but they could have been there for the Spanish would have liked to plant the things they enjoyed in Spain in their new home. They were uncommon enough to be thought non-existent in Mexico. To nearly all simple Spaniards they would just have been roses and if Diego planned the hoax he could have managed to grow the roses out of season. Did the Bishop simply think that the roses were Castilian? They could have been the ones in anybody’s garden that look like Castilian roses. Perhaps one rose looked by chance like a Castilian rose and the rest did not but when the bishop examined that one he assumed the rest were Castilian too. It was when Diego emptied the flowers from his cloak before the bishop that it was learned that there was an image on his cloak. Perhaps the flowers were the excuse for why he had to walk about taking care not to wrinkle his cloak in case he would damage the image?

Diego claimed that his uncle who was cured by the Virgin had cocolixtle which was a fever that proved fatal to all who caught it. But was it really? Juan knew that it could not proved that it was the fever and still he paraded the cure as a miracle. The fact that he went for a priest for his uncle instead of appealing to the apparition for help has disturbed many students of the vision (page 22, The Wonder of Guadalupe). It is psychological evidence that there never had been a vision.

In December 1999, an abbot called Gullermo Shulenburg who was once associated with the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe despatched a five-page report to the Vatican stating that there was no evidence apart from legend for the existence of Juan Diego. The Vatican was enraged for it planned to canonise Diego. The abbot’s discovery has damning implications for the holy picture of the Virgin. It would mean it could be a miracle image of the Mother Goddess who was adored on the hill of Guadalupe before the Virgin allegedly appeared that has been retouched to make it look more like Mary if it is a miracle at all. The Virgin has the facial features attributed to that pagan goddess which is as good a confirmation as any about who it is supposed to be. Fr Raymond E Brown’s book, Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, tells us that the image of Mary at Guadalupe is hard to examine scientifically and that the exact story about the apparitions is equally very elusive for the ancient documents contradict each other (page 98).

There is no story of what happened at Guadalupe.  It is a legend not a story.  It is not safe to built faith in the miraculous on it.