Hi, Mary —
You are really asking two questions.
One is, should images be made, and
two, should they be prayed to.
As for the second question, I don't
know about you, but no one ever taught
me to pray to a statue. Anyone would
have to be colossally ignorant to
think that a piece of marble or plaster
can hear their prayers.
What we do is pray to the saints
that the statue depicts, much as
a father, on an extended business
trip, might pull family photographs
out of his wallet, kiss them, and
love you or gaze lovingly
at the photo on his desk at work
as he speaks to his wife on the telephone.
Answering both the questions, as
I presented them, read Numbers 21:8-9 where God commanded Moses to make
a bronze serpent and put on a pole
so that those who gazed upon the
brazen serpent would be healed from
the snakebites God caused. Not only
does God command an image to be made,
but it becomes a cause for healing,
and it becomes an image that Jesus
(John 3:14) to represent His death
on the Cross, which will heal the
nations. There is a tantalizing verse
in Galatians 3:1 where Paul says,
"You foolish Galatians, who
has bewitched you, before whose
eyes Jesus Christ was publicly
portrayed as crucified?"
It's not perfectly clear what Paul
has in mind here, but the Galatians,
being Gentiles, would not have seen
the actual crucifixion. Therefore,
someone reproduced — in
a large way — the crucifixion
for them. That could have been a
Anyway to complete the answer, God
also commanded other images to be
So the First Commandment does not
forbid the making of images, it forbids
the worship and idolatry of them,
which we do not do.
One reason behind the First Commandment
was because God had no form and so
making an image of him, as so many
of the surrounding countries did
of their gods, made no sense.
With the incarnation, a new economy
of images was inaugurated because
God now has a form — the form
of a man. God took on flesh, and
can now be seen and portrayed.
There is an earlier post or two we
have on this subject you may want
You might also want to look at these Catholic
Answers tracts though they are not affiliated with