Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus) is based on dogma as well as Scripture. 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 the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II's encyclical Redemptoris Mater, the Virgin Mary has come to be seen and venerated not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church.
As the mother of Jesus, Mary has a central role in the Roman Catholic Church. The church's veneration of her as the Blessed Virgin Mary has grown over time both in importance and manifestation, not only in prayer but in art, poetry and music. Popes have encouraged this veneration but from time to time have also taken steps to reform it. Overall, there are significantly more titles, feasts and venerative Marian practices among Roman Catholics than any other Christian traditions. Pope Benedict XVI maintains that the Virgin Mary possesses divine motherhood which she continues to bestow as intercessory "graces associated with God's blessing."
The Pietà (Italian pronunciation: [pjeˈta]) is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture. As such, it is a particular form of the Lamentation of Christ, a scene from the Passion of Christ found in cycles of the Life of Christ. When Christ and the Virgin are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament, the subject is strictly called a Lamentation in English, although Pietà is often used for this as well, and is the normal term in Italian.