As a non-Catholic, I believe Mary’s role in the Catholic Church was to be impregnated by God and give birth as a virgin to God’s son (hmmmm, how is that possible, anyway?) Perhaps that could be one of the reasons Catholics are so scrutinized. If this phenomenon were to occur today, something tells me it would make the cover of a sleazy supermarket tabloid. And there’s always the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control, same-sex marriages, abortion, etc. The commercialism of the church is strange to me as well – where I live, they even run commercials to recruit members.