And I still have no idea why Catholics worshoip/pray to the Virgin Mary
Sigh. They don't. Nor do they to saints.
*bounces a communion wafer off Z's head*
Sigh yes they do.
Google "catholic doctrine mariology" and be amazed at the plethora of contradiction.
I grew up in a staunchly old-school traditional conservative mid-western Catholic home (mass in Latin baybee, priest facing Away from parishoners, no devil guitar music allowed!), for 18 years went to church every sunday (mostly the full length High Mass, not the quickie Low Mass for slackers) + every freakin holy day in the calendar cuz Mom forced me to, did all the sacraments and rituals and confession and Palm Sunday smudges and rosaries and this/that/theother saints days, went to Catholic Grade School for 8 years with full-black-habit nuns doing the teaching (i forget which Order they were, but no, not Our Lady of Perpetual Torment), went to Confraternity of Catholic Doctrine classes thru high school, and ima tellin ya... while official Holy Roman Catholic Church doctrine waffles and obfuscates on what exactly IS the official position from one Vatican Council to the next, rank and file Catholics DO indeed Worship and Pray To Mary and the Saints.
Of course as with most western religious folks, protestant or catholic or jewish or islamic, if you press them on Why they believe, and to explain to you in detail -precisely- What it is they actually believe, they are unAble to provide an answer beyond "well I was raised that way" or "well we always belived that way", meaning their belief and practice is little more than cultural conditioning, a desire to be part of a social community, and a strong emotional desire to believe in 'something' beyond themselves.
edit: oh and the Ark of the Covenant
is a purely Jewish thing pre-dating Christianity by many many centuries. It was a literal gilded wooden box that was lugged around by the Israelites thru the desert during the Exodus from Egypt led by Moses. It was built to contain the 10 Commandment rock tablets that God gave to Moses and it symbolically represented God's 'Covenant' (promise) that He made with His chosen people never to abandon them.
Most of the magical mystical movie stuff about the Ark was cooked up during medieval roman catholic times, though the Old Testament does mention instances where God's power was demonstrated to His people thru the Ark, and it was thru the Ark that God somehow or another manifested Himself and gave instructions to Moses.
Extraordinarliy detailed instructions on it's construction are found in Exodus 25:10-22
Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it. The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. This comment was edited on Feb 7, 21:36.
"Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.