Roman Catholic Mariology is theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ and developed by the Catholic Church. "The Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of God, is believed to hold a certain infinite dignity from the infinite good which is God."
Theologically, Roman Catholic Mariology deals with not only her life but also with veneration of her in daily life, prayer, and art (where she has been a favorite topic), music, and architecture; in modern and ancient Christianity throughout the ages.
The development of Roman Catholic Mariology is ongoing. It continues to be shaped not only by papal encyclicals but also by the interplay of forces ranging from sensus fidelium, to the writings of the saints, to the construction of major Marian churches at the sites of Marian apparitions. In some cases, sensus fidelium has influenced Marian papal decisions, providing Mariology with a "theology of the people" component that distinguishes it from other parts of formal theology. In terms of popular following, membership in Roman Catholic Marian Movements and Societies has grown significantly in the 20th century. This has continued to be matched by support from the Holy See, with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) stating: "It is necessary to go back to Mary, if we want to return to the truth about Jesus Christ".
The ongoing development of Mariology continued in the 20th century, for example, in his
Angelus address in September 1985 Pope John Paul II coined the term The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and in 1986 addressed the international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal.