Worshipping the Saints. Many Protestant Christians believe that Catholics are heathens because they "worship" Mary and the Saints.
What they do not understand is that the word 'worship' simple means showing respect or honor. It does not mean that if I worship something I am worshipping it as a god. It just means I am giving it its proper honor.
There are 2 types of worship though. There is the Greek word latria, which refers to the honor given to God alone and there is the Greek word dulia, which refers to the honor given to human beings.
The problem is that most Protestant Christians do not understand the difference between these 2 words and lump both the worship of God and the worship of Mary and the Saints into one category, incorrectly.
The truth is, in the sense of the word worship that comes to most people's mind, Catholics do NOT worship Mary and the Saints. They worship God and God alone.
Catholics do not worship Mary. They do not worship Saints. They do not worship statues (in fact they don't even honor statues since statues are just slabs of rock).
Another misconception by Protestant Christians (most of them anyway) about Catholics is that praying to Mary and the Saints denotes worship. This is simply not true.
Since the earliest history of Christianity, Christians asked for intercession from their departed brothers and sisters. The Bible does state that there is only one God and only one mediator between Him and man, however this pertains the fact that Jesus is the only person that is both God and man and the only person that bridges man and God. It does not mean that Jesus is the only person that can intercede for us. That would not make any sense, how can God intercede for us to God? Make sense?
Interestingly enough, the Old Testament actually has an example of man praying to those in heaven on our behalf.
Psalm 103 states: "Bless the Lord, O you His angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word."
And Psalm 148 states: "Praise the Lord.....Praise Him, all His angels, praise Him, all His host."
Was the writer of these psalms worshipping angels? Certainly not.
The point I am making with these passages is that those who are in heaven pray with us and pray for us.
The question I have always wondered about those who attack the Catholics for praying to Saints is how is that any different from these people going to cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and talking to them as if they can hear them? In my opinion, it is no different at all.
The point I am making with this post is:
1. Do Catholics worship Mary and the Saints?
The answer is two-fold. First, depends on your definition of worship. If you are talking about giving someone their due respect or honor. Yes they do. But if you are talking about worshipping them on the same level as God. Absolutely not.
2. Is it wrong for Catholics to pray to Mary and the Saints?
It is no more wrong for them to pray for their intercession than it is for a person to talk to their departed loved ones.