Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin
Mary is based on dogma as well as Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The
mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God. From the
Council of Ephesus in 431, which dogmatized this belief, 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.