Other christian sects oppose Catholic acts of kneeling before an image of saints, and of Jesus himself. They say that Catholics are idolators and I don't think of myself as that. Please help.
QUESTION: Are Catholics idolators when we kneel before images of saints and to the image of Jesus Himself as what is being accused of us more often by other religious organization?
ANSWER: To answer this question, we have to understand the meaning of "idolatry". To be an "idolator", or to commit "idolatry" is to give worship to people or objects other than God Himself. In the Old Testament, the Israelites committed idolatry when they worshipped an image of a cow. In modern times, when we perform acts of worship to images or people other than God Himself, we commit idolatry.
When we kneel before images of saints and the Blessed Mother, we are conveying our respect and veneration to them. As Catholics, we do NOT consider saints and the Blessed Mother as gods. Thus, whenever we bow down or kneel before their images, we do not commit idolatry - for as long as in our hearts, we know that we are not worshipping them as gods.
However, when we kneel before an image of Jesus, we are doing so out of worship to Him - who is true God. Jesus is the 3rd person in the Holy Trinity, and is God. Therefore, worship is due to Him.
The most important thing to remember, therefore, is our INTENTION - for as long as we remember that the saints and the Blessed Mother are NOT God, then we do not commit idolatry whenever we honor them through various acts such as kneeling down.