For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Catholics who deny this are being unrealistic. Often, Israelites who bowed before angels were rebuked for it. The term translated "worship" was virtually synonymous with "bowing."
Bowing was not differentiated with regarding something as a god. Catholics should never do this. For all intents and purposes it is indistinguishable from worship.
I asked a catholic why they prayed to the dead saints. I was told that this was because they felt those catholics could intercede for them because they feel the saints are closer to God.
As we know, Jesus came to be the only person to pray on our behalf. But in my studies, once we die, that is it. We are dead. Our spirits go right to heaven and our bodies go to the ground. In that faith, the "saints" are created by man. They are just like you and me=totally human. Please correct me if I mistakes anything. I do not want to say anything wrong.
Some Catholics in the U.S. have told me they don't pray to saints but others say they do. That's never, ever taught in the Bible. While some Catholics deny wordhipping saint's statues, it's clear that some people affirm they do. If someone denies they worship Mary or the saints, they shouldn't bow either, neither should they pray to those.
Catholics do not view the practice as praying to dead saints, but as praying to living saints. Yes, they may be deceased, but by faith we believe they are alive with Christ.
Scripture holds that it is Jesus who lives to intercede for us (Heb 7:25), and that the Spirit also intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom 8:27).
As for those who have died, we are not to speak to them whether they were a believer or an unbeliever. Those who consult the dead are mediums and spiritists - this is not a practice Christians should engage in (Lev 19:31, Deut 18:10-12). Saul was soundly rebuked for seeking out a medium to call up Samuel (I Sam 28:6-30).
At Jesus' transfiguration, the disciples asked if they should set up shelters for Moses and Elijah (Matt 17:1-8). Yet the Father said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"
While we personally should 'pray for each other' (James 5:16), there is no instruction in scripture that we should ask those who have gone to sleep to pray on our behalf, or that we should have any interaction with them. The hope given in scripture is that our next encounter with them will be at the Second Coming when Jesus will bring those who have fallen asleep back with him (I Thes 4:13-14).
Catholics professs their belief in the "Communion of the Saints", that we are all united in Christ's love, not height nor depth, nor anything can keep us from this Love. (Romans 8:39)
Rom 8:31-39 speaks of how nothing can separate us from the love of God, the context of the passage does not speak to our relationships or interactions with each other. Rom 8:34 states that it is Christ who has died and been raised to life and intercedes for us. It nowhere states that humans who have died (yet are not yet raised to life in the future resurrection) can or are interceding for us.
And our unity in the Spirit and unity in Christ, spoken of elsewhere in scripture, is not about some metaphysical unity between the living and the dead. Rather, it is about the unity in the Spirit in the bond of peace that the living Church pursues. (Eph 4:1-4, Phil 2:1-4, I Pet 2:4-5)
We pray in the Name of the living Christ, not to any saint that has fallen asleep.
The Communion of Saints is the consequence of our unity in the Spirit and unity in Christ. We can pray for each other because we are part of one body whose head is Christ. (Colossians 1:18) What binds Christians together is real, not simply metaphysical, that when one part suffers, every part suffers. (1 Corinthians 12:26)
Again, those passages are speaking about the living Church. Those who have died/fallen asleep are not 'growing' in Christ. The church is made of 'living' stones, built up into Christ (I Pet 2:1-17). Those who have died need not submit to human authorities, or worry about abstaining from sinful desires, or live good lives among the pagans.
Those who have died cannot assemble with other Christians. (Church in scripture is 'ecclesia', assembly, referring to all Christians on earth as well as local gatherings of Christians at times). It is not the dead who are with us when we assemble, but Christ (Matt 18:20).
This does not mean that the dead are no longer in Christ, but rather that they are not a -living- part of the building. It is like a pyramid being built up into Christ. Christ is the cornerstone and capstone, and the primary foundation. The apostles built foundation layers on top of that. (I Cor 3:10-11).
Living Christians edify and support each other as we are fitly framed together into this building (Eph 2:20-21). The dead who have gone before us are not being actively fitted together, but are like lower layers of stone on top of the foundations that in turn support us.
Also, Paul was torn between being with Christ and continuing 'fruitful labor' on Earth, so he could work for the sake of fellow Christians. (Phil 1 :20-26). He would not have been so torn if his earthly ministry in the church could continue after he fell asleep.
I agree the passages are speaking about the living Church.
Jesus has overcomed death. He is the resurrection and life. The saints who are in heaven now are not dead, they are alive! (John 11:35)
Why are the Old Testament Commandments used to point out misguided teachings of other faiths? Would pointing out these errors cause them to stumble, in possibly hatred? I think I would stand prudent in simply loving my Catholic neighbors and let God and His angels set us straight when He returns. He knows what’s in their hearts and whether they feel it’s idol worship or worship tools.