Mariology of the popes

The Mariology of the popes is the theological study of the influence that the popes have had on the development, formulation and transformation of the Roman Catholic Church's doctrines and devotions relating to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The development of Mariology over the centuries has been influenced by a number of factors, among which papal directives have often represented key milestones. Examples of papal influences include new Marian feast days, prayers, acceptance of new Marian congregations, indulgences, support for Marian apparitions (e.g. Lourdes and Fatima) and declaration of Marian dogmas.

"The century preceding the Second Vatican Council was arguably the most fertile era for Catholic Marian studies."[1] A number of popes have made Marian themes a key part of their papacy, e.g. Leo XIII issued a record eleven encyclicals on the rosary, Pius XII invoked the case of ex cathedra papal infallibility to establish a Marian dogma and John Paul II built his personal coat of arms around the Marian Cross.

Popes have also highlighted the key Catholic Mariological theme of the link between the study of Mary and the development of a full Christology, e.g. as in Pius XII's Mystici corporis Christi and John Paul II's Redemptoris Mater.