A few days ago, I posted about my R.C.I.A. class. I planned on introducing Mary. I did this. The catechumenate said that they had heard that Catholics worshiped Mary. I told them that we don't. I was surprised when I asked them since they have been attending Mass, and are friends with some Catholics, do they, themselves, think we worship Mary, and they said, "yes." Some added, "Well maybe," "It looks like that."
I tried to explain that we worship God, and honor Mary, and why we honor Mary. They didn't see much difference in the meanings of worship/honor/reverence. Once we agreed on the differentiations between worship and honor, they could see the difference between the way Catholics think and pray to God and Mary.
But the devil intervened. Francisco walked in. Francisco teaches R.C.I.A. to the Spanish class. I asked my confrere, "Francisco, do you worship Mary?"
Immediately, Francisco responded, "Si."
My jaw hit the floor.
Francisco could tell by my expression that he gave the wrong answer. But he didn't know why. I explained, "No we honor Mary and we worship God." He said "yes." That was what he meant. Francisco's problem was that his first language is Spanish and these particular words: honor, revere, worship, and devotion, have different nuances to them that English doesn't convey.
For example, Francisco objected to the expression, "having a great devotion to Mary," because in Spanish, devotion is a word connected to God, alone. In English, people can be devoted to people and animals and even ideas.
I don't know if the catechumenate understood this Marian concept, but I know that I learned why non-Catholics think that Catholics worship Mary.