Mary seems to be very much loved in the Catholic religion which is great. There is an issue however, that always struck me as odd..Mary played a very big role in the bible, she carried the trinity in her own womb and raised the Son of God after all! But is it right to pray to and worship Mary?First of all, Mary did not carry the trinity in her womb. She carried Jesus who is the second person of the trinity. I assume this is just an oversight.
Secondly, there is a distinction that needs to be drawn between praying to Mary and worshiping Mary. Catholics venerate Mary and the saints. They don't worship them. Worship is reserved for God alone. The lating words are Latria and Dulia. The distinction is explained more fully here. In order to comment on a Catholic you need to understand it. It seems that you don't or you would at least argue that this distinction Catholics make is not valid.
So we agree that worship is only due God and not Mary. We don't agree on what that looks like. Is praying to Mary the kind of worship these verses talk about. Remember we don't REALLY pray TO Mary although we talk that way. We really pray THROUGH Mary. That is important to understand as a protestant. That no Catholic sees Mary as an alternative to God. She is an instrument of God. Her greatness glorifies God because He has made her great. She is not seen as the source of grace but the mediator of grace. God is the source.
Then you quote Ex 20:4-5. The NIV says:
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them;The New American Standard says:
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. "You shall not worship them or serve them;Somewhere you found a version that says:
You shall not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them
Now I am not qualified to argue the Hebrew with you but I do believe the word "idol" is a better translation than "carved image". Then the reply becomes easy. A statue of St Mary is not an idol. It is an icon. An idol is something we worship instead of God. An icon is something we venerate as pointing to God.
You should also know there are a bunch or examples of people bowing down to other people in the Old Testament. David bows down to Saul. Obadiah bows down to Elijah. So this cannot be a ban on the act of bowing down. So it again points to the word "idol" being key.
Lastly you go to 1 Time 2:5:
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ JesusOf course this is true in the context Paul is speaking. Paul is talking about praying for the salvation of all men. He is making clear that we should pray they come to know Jesus. Jesus alone bridges the gap between God and man. But what about the gap between man and Jesus? Who can fill that? We can. That is what we do when we evangelize or when we pray for another person or when we show love for a person. That does not replace the bridge Jesus has built to God but it shows people the way to it.
Mary can do that as well. She physically brought Jesus to the world once. Spiritually she keeps doing that. Jesus chooses to honor her in that role. Jesus obeys Ex 20:12 and honors His mother. He does it extravagantly. We benefit from that. So, yes, we should pray to her. If Jesus wants to bless us through her we should eagerly desire that blessing.