Catholics like to say they are simply "venerating" Mary and saints by giving them high levels of respect, rather than worshiping. This seems similar to Buddhists who don't like hearing their religion termed religion, and don't like it being said they consider Buddha a deity.
Nevertheless, both Catholics and Buddhists build statues of Mary, saints, and Buddha, and pray in front of those statues. That is directly contrary to the commandment against graven images and idols being built and bowed down to in Exodus 20:4-5 and Leviticus 26:1.
|“|| Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Leviticus 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.
Only God to be Worshiped
Furthermore, the Bible gives clear indication that whenever anyone but Jesus or God were bowed down to, it was explicitly condemned.
- When Cornelius, whose household became the first non-Jewish Christians, tried to worship Peter, Peter specifically forbade it, saying, "Stand up, I myself am also a man." (Acts 10:26)
- When the people of Lystra, seeing the miracles worked by Paul and Barnabas, tried to worship them as deities, the two preachers tore their clothes and ran into the crowd saying, "Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein." (Acts 14:11-18)
- When the Apostle John twice fell at the feet of chief angels, he was rebuked with "See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God." (Revelation 22:9, 19:10)
Such veneration is completely un-Biblical.