Updated: May 16, 2022
Well Catholics do not pray to statues or paintings or any other kind of image. We venerate and ask for the intercession of the person/people those images represent. I worked with a Protestant man who used to kiss a photo of his wife 'Joanne' he used to kiss the image and say 'I love my wee Joanne'. Not once did I ever think it was the piece of paper he loved. I knew it was the person that pictured represented. When you go into a person's house normally there are pictures of family and friends. These images call to mind times spent together, they help us recall past friendships. Or maybe individuals who are no longer with us, we still love them, and those images help us recall that love. We have statues of great sports heroes, politicians, poets and storytellers. We give them places of honour, we admire them, we hold them aloft. However in many instances people are afraid to give Our Blessed Mother and the Saints the same honour, as if God will somehow disapprove. We have no fear of venerating secular people, but those God loves most, we fear to love them? that is backward thinking.
The 3rd commandment is 'Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image' What does this mean exactly? Well it means we should not worship any image. The people actually worshipped the golden calf in the time of Moses. Catholics are fully aware when we are before a statue of Our Blessed Mother, that the statue is just a lump of plaster. It is not the lump of plaster we are venerating, it is the person who the statue represents. The same goes for a painting, we are fully aware that what we are before is just canvas with pigments of colour, we are not venerating the canvas with pigments of colour on it. We are venerating the person or pondering on the scene it depicts. The pagans actually worshipped the images they created.
God's 'mind' so to speak, not that God has a mind, but we have to use this type of terminology for us to comprehend. God's mind does not change, what He had as truth before, He has as truth now, and will always have as truth.
God Himself commissioned certain images to be made. On the Ark that held the stone tablets and Aaron's staff God commanded that there should be two cherubim made on the lid of the Ark.
We also read in Numbers The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live."
God said no GRAVEN image, Catholics do not have GRAVEN images. We have images that depict Our Blessed Mother, the Saints, scenes from Our Lord's life. These are pleasing to God, not false idols. Tiocfaidh ár lá (Our Day Shall Come) Truth & Tradition