Many Protestants believe that the Catholics worship saints as gods. This is a lie. To explain what Catholics believe is simple. But we have to break it down into three parts to explain why. First, what is a saint? Second, can you talk to saints? Third, can saints help you out?
First, what is a saint? Catholics believe that there are holy people who have died and should be regarded with great respect for the lives in which they lead. These people are spiritual heroes. These are people that we believe are in heaven. Saints are people in Heaven, period.
Now, if your Grandmother is in heaven she is a saint. But with your Grandmother, we don’t know for sure. The Catholic Church isn’t saying that your Grandmother isn’t in Heaven, they are just saying only God knows someone heart. We believe these saints are in Heaven because of the lives they have led. That’s all. However, the Protestant belief that all Christians go to Heaven is also misleading. No Christian considers Hitler on the quick path into Heaven, but Hitler was a Christian.
Why does it matter if we know who the people are who are in Heaven, aka Saints? Because of the second question we need to ask. Can you talk to saints? Many people talk to saints all of the time when they talk to their loved ones who have passed on. Protestants have no problem with this. So why do they have a problem when Catholics do the same thing? Because of a change in the meanings of word. When Catholics and Orthodox say that they pray to saints — they are not praying. They are talking. But the only word we have for speaking to the spiritual realm is prayer.
This is what we mean, bare with me. There are three words for prayer in the Catholic Church. First is Dulia, it is talking to the saints, your Grandmother, angels — anyone in Heaven. Then there is Hyper Dulia, which is still talking but is reserved for Mary as a more respectful conversation because as mother of Christ, therefore she deserves some more respect. Then there is Latria — THIS IS PRAYER! This is praying to GOD alone. This is the only real prayer. The rest is just conversations with friends and family that are in heaven. So, do Protestants talk to saints? Yes, every time the talk to a loved one who is in heaven. Do Catholics “pray” to saints? Yes, they pray (dulia - talk) to saints.
The last question is: Can saints help you out? Now, Protestants believe that Jesus is the ONLY intercessor between man and God. This is what we all believe. When Catholics say they pray for the intercession of St. Whoever, they are only doing what the Protestants do with the living. When people get into a bind and don’t know what is going on, they ask friends and family to pray for them. The only difference is Catholics also ask those no longer physically alive for prayerful help. This is because even though they have past, they have never ceased to be family. We are all one family in Christ, whether physically living or not.
We all believe that, as Christians, through Grace we have life everlasting. We all believe that family and friends praying for us helps. Therefore, we all believe the same thing about the Saints.
Quick note: The paintings and statues of Saints is not idolatry. It is the same as having pictures of loved one who have passed. Sculpture and paintings were more popular before cameras.
Peace be with you.