It is fair to say that most Christians, including major Christian leaders and popular TV preachers (esp. those on TBN) see the Roman Catholic Church as merely another *Christian* denomination. Mainly due to (a) a lack of theological understanding of essential biblical doctrines such as justification, (b) a lack of understanding as to what the Rome teaches on essential doctrines, and (c) a false perception of the Rome because of the humanitarian and “good works” preformed by Catholics. What is seemly clear, unfortunately, is that most Christians have never objectively investigated nor studied the distinctive theology of the Roman Church (let alone studied the *fundamental* doctrines of their own faith!).
I will say at the onset, theologically I see Rome as a false church with no significant truths.
Along with the vast heretical Roman Catholic doctrines such as baptismal regeneration, Purgatory, the idolatrous Marian doctrines, Rome’s teaching of a transubstantial Eucharist mutilates the biblical view of the incarnation of the Son, and that salvation is through faith alone by Christ alone.
Mary Worship and Douleia
The Roman Church is a life embracing and practicing perpetual idolatry in giving Mary what is reserved for God alone—namely, religious worship.
Generally, because of Roman Catholic tradition, Roman apologists lack greatly as to the lexical-semantic of the Greek noun douleia (Latin, dulia) and the verb douleuō in a religious context—in both in the OT (LXX) and NT. Simple rejoinder here, which does not require a lengthy corrective. To avoid the charge of idolatrous worship to Mary, Rome has developed a three-tier scheme in which they distinguish between so-called service or honor given to Saints and Mary, and worship given to God denoted by three Latin terms: dulia (service, given to so-called saints), hyper-dulia (super-service, given to Mary), and latreia (worship, given to God).
Dulia, from the Greek noun, duleia (slavery, bondage, service), the verb being douleuō meaning, “to serve, be enslaved, in bondage”), which is given to all so-called saints (veneration).
Hyper-dulia (“super/superior slavery, service”) given to Mary alone.
Latria from the Greek noun, latreia (“the service or worship of God” (Rom. 12:1; Heb. 9:1), and the verb being latreuō, “to give religious honor, worship” (cf. Dan. 7:14; Luke 4:8; Phil. 3:3; Heb. 9:14), which is reserved for God alone.
This distinction of three kinds of service/worship biblically is not valid. First, Scripture nowhere teaches that faithful Christians should give dulia (Greek, duleia) and especially the Roman concocted term, hyper-dulia to creatures, in a religious context. Second, this distinction of three kinds of service/worship is biblically invalid. Semantically, to give dulia to anyone in a religious context is the same as giving latria (Greek, latreia)—they both denote worship reserved for God alone.
Hence, by Catholics praying to creatures giving them dulia (religious veneration), bowing before statues of Mary is the very thing in which God prohibits. Paul strongly expresses this point in Galatians 4:8, “When you did not know God, you were slaves [‘you served,’ from douleuō] to those which by nature are no gods.” Paul was clear: “to serve” (i.e., to give douleia, dulia) anyone other than God in a religious context is biblically wrong—it is patent idolatry. Paul sees the unconverted pagans as doing this: “When you did not know God”—you were giving dulia to creatures.
The Idolatry of Rome’s Marian Doctrines. Alphonsus Liguori, was a “Canonized Saint” (1839), and declared a “Doctor of the Church” in 1871 by Pope Pius IX. Historically, the Roman Catholic Church has named 37 Doctors of the Church (beginning with Irenaeus, A.D. 180). The so-called Saint and Doctor of Roman Theology, Alphonsus Liguori, writes in his renowned massive book, The Glories of Mary:
“On account of the merits of Jesus, the great privilege has been granted to Mary to be the mediatrix of our salvation” (169).
“So, says St. Bernard, We have access to Jesus Christ only through Mary. And St. Bernard gives us the reason why the Lord decreed that all men should be saved by the intercession of Mary, namely that through Mary we might be received by that Saviour who, through Mary, has been given to us” (191-92).
“If you ever wish for another advocate with this mediator, invoke Mary, for she will intercede for you with the Son. . .. St. Bonaventure, too: He who neglects the service of Mary shall die in sin . . . He who has not recourse to thee, oh Lady, will not reach paradise. . .. That those from whom Mary turns away her face, not only will [they] not be saved, but can have no hope of salvation” (228, 256).
“Mary is called the Gate of Heaven, because no one can enter into heaven, as St. Bonaventure declares, except through Mary” (744).
These are only a few samples of authoritative Roman Catholic voices affirming Rome’s distinctive Marian doctrines. These doctrines are purely outside of the Scripture; the NT knows nothing of this. In fact, aside from a passing reference in Galatians 4:4 of Jesus being born of a virgin (without mentioning Mary by name), after Acts 1:14, Mary is never mentioned again in any NT Epistle. Neither Jesus, nor any of His disciples, nor any NT Apostle prayed to her or referred to Mary as “Our Queen, “Our Life,” “Our Hope,” Our Mediatress, Our Advocate, Our Salvation, etc.
 Regarding idols and false gods, God commands His people in Exodus 20:5: “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” The Hebrew word translated “serve” (NASB, ESV, KJV, etc.) is from abad (“to work, serve”), which is the most common English translation of the term. In a religious context, to serve God is the same as worshiping Him—an action reserved for God alone (cf. Exod. 4:23; 7:16; 20:5; Job 21:15; Mal. 3:18). In many OT passages, however, there are more than a few standard translations that translate abad as “worship” (e.g., NASB at Exod. 3:12; Ps. 2:11; Isa. 19:23; Jer. 35:15 et al.). The NIV translates abad as “worship” at Exodus 20:5: “You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (same at Exod. 3:12; Isa. 19:23 et al.). In the LXX, abad is frequently translated as latreuō (“to worship, serve”; Exod. 3:12; 20:5; etc.) and sometimes as douleuō (“to serve”; Isa. 19:23). In other words, in a religious context, both latreuō and douleuō (to worship or to serve) means the same thing—divine worship.