|Veneration of the Virgin Mary|
As the mother of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary has a central role in the life of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin has grown over time both in importance and manifestation. Popes contributed to the veneration but also reformed it periodically.
Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a woman. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honor as Mother of God. From the Council of Ephesus in 431, which dogmatized this belief, to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II's Redemptoris Mater encyclical the Virgin Mary has come to be seen, not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church.The key role of the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic beliefs, her veneration, and the growth of Roman Catholic Mariology have not only come about by official statements made in Rome but have often been driven from the ground up, by the Marian writings of the saints and from the masses of believers, and at times via reported Marian apparitions to young and simple children on remote hilltops, which have then influenced the higher levels of the Holy See via sensus fidei. The Holy See continues to approve of Marian apparitions on remote mountains, the latest approval being as recent as May 2008. Some apparitions such as Fatima have given rise to Marian Movements and Societies with millions of members, and many other Marian societies exist around the world.