In the Catholic Church, the veneration of Mary, mother of Jesus, encompasses various Marian devotions which include prayer, pious acts, visual arts, poetry, and music devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Popes have encouraged it, while also taking steps to reform some manifestations of it.[note 1] The Holy See has insisted on the importance of distinguishing "true from false devotion, and authentic doctrine from its deformations by excess or defect". There are significantly more titles, feasts, and venerative Marian practices among Roman Catholics than in other Western Christian traditions. The term hyperdulia indicates the special veneration due to Mary, greater than the ordinary dulia for other saints, but utterly unlike the latria due only to God. The term "Mariolatry" is a Protestant pejorative label for perceived excessive Catholic devotion to Mary.
In Roman Catholic teachings, the veneration of Mary is a natural consequence of Christology: Jesus and Mary are son and mother, redeemer and redeemed.
This sentiment was expressed by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Redemptoris mater: "At the centre of this mystery, in the midst of this wonderment of faith, stands Mary. As the loving Mother of the Redeemer, she was the first to experience it: 'To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator'!"
In the Roman Catholic tradition Mariology is seen as Christology developed to its full potential. Mary is seen as contributing to a fuller understanding of the life of Jesus. In this view, a Christology without Mary is not based on the total revelation of the Bible. Traces of this parallel interpretation go back to the early days of Christianity and numerous saints have since focused on it.
The development of this approach continued into the 20th century. In his 1946 publication Compendium Mariologiae, MariologistGabriel Roschini explained that Mary not only participated in the birth of the physical Jesus, but, with conception, she entered with him into a spiritual union. The divine salvation plan, being not only material, includes a permanent spiritual unity with Christ. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) wrote: "It is necessary to go back to Mary if we want to return to that 'truth about Jesus Christ,' 'truth about the Church' and 'truth about man' that John Paul II proposed as a program to all of Christianity," in order to ensure an authentic approach to Christology via a return to the "whole truth about Mary".