Many people make the mistake of arguing that Catholics worship Mary and that they somehow think that Catholics regard her as the same way that they regard God. However, these people seem to be misguided in this way and this discussion will shed some light on why, exactly, some people may have this issue misconstrued.
Make no mistake: Mary is a very significant figure within the Catholic Christian community. And she should be. Mary is the Mother of God who gave birth to Jesus! What greater honor could have been given to any woman during that time period? Mary, as Jesus’ mother, knows Him the best and goes to Him for us. When Catholics pray to Mary they are essentially asking for her intercession to her son. Mary, being the Mother of our Savior, points to her son in order so that we might realize that He alone can give us salvation. That certainly has to be considered one of the higher honors – to point to your own son and telling people that he will give you forgiveness and salvation. Consider this scenario: you may ask your friend or relative to keep you in their prayers, or to say some extra prayers for you when you’re sick or in need of them. In much of the same way are Catholics and others asking Mary to do the same thing for them through her intercession to her Son.
Although Catholics do hold Mary up high as a special woman in her own rite, they do not, however, worship and praise her. Worship is specifically reserved for God, and to give her worship would be setting her up to be on the same level as God. Yes, she holds a high position and role for Christians everywhere; she is not God, though, and never will be. We can also think about this: if God had not intended for us to have a relationship with Jesus’ mother, he would not have even put Mary into the equation when bringing Jesus to the Earth. God is a creative being and would have figured something out; however, making it so that Jesus was born of a woman, Mary specifically, gave her a special role not only in the birth of Jesus Christ, but also in being a model for other Christians in so many ways.
So then why do Catholics have statues of her everywhere just like they do of Jesus? For Catholics, having statues of Mary and the Saints have always had great meaning. They have had great meaning in the sense that they help in our honor of them. Bowing down in worship of a statue would be totally unnecessary; however, quietly kneeling or sitting in prayer before a statue in the presence of God is not unheard of. Statues and figures aid Catholics in their quest for quiet prayer and meditation, but they do not signify worship in any means.
Hopefully now you can see more clearly just how important of a role Mary plays for Catholics and that, in fact, Catholics do not worship Mary. Yes, they may pray to her and ask for her intercession. They may even tell others to do the same. But Catholics definitely do not worship her in the same way as they worship God and Jesus, even though this is a clearly misconstrued idea!