Roman Catholics do not pray to the cross or to the images. The object itself is merely a point of focus and attention. Like when you sing the national anthem, you look at the flag. The flag isn't the nation. You're not singing to the flag. It just a device used to help you focus your attention. The images also serve as a reminder of the sacrifices of Jesus and the saints that came before us and the love God has lavished on us, lest we forget the cost of our redemption and the many men and women who have continued to share this message through the ages. Of course, there are Roman Catholics who may in fact be praying to objects. According to their faith, they are sinning and require correction. Just as there are Christians of all denominations that get divorces, have abortions, drink in excess, are abusive, practice homosexuality. The fact that we are imperfect means we will continue to perform actions outside our faith. None are without sin.
I'm a Christian and I've never prayed to the cross or to an image of the Virgin Mary. As a matter of fact, no other member of my church does this to my knowledge. I'm not sure about my Catholic friend since I've never attended one of the services at her church but I went to a Lutheran church with family friends as a child and I go to a Presbyterian church now.
Here is 1 thing I do believe: it is NOT a sin to have a symbol of remembrance. As a matter of fact, at my fellowship tonight we had the reading on this. The crucifix isn't prayed to - and NEVER SHOULD BE - but it is there as a constant reminder.
That is mainly a Catholic practice. Lutheran's (A direct off-shoot of Catholicism) do not engage in the practice and neither do other "Protestant" religions. (From the word "protest"; as in Martin Luther protesting against the Catholic Church back in Germany in the 16th Century and who by his actions started the whole Protestant ball "rolling" so to speak) I am giving you a VERY BRIEF lesson here in one of the chapters of the history of Western Civilization, just in case you are wondering. Also the Lutheran church is named in honor of Martin Luther and the brave stance he took against the Catholic Church. Catholics and Christians are the basically the same. Catholicism just explains the TYPE of Christianity. Sometimes in major religions there are different beliefs that cause a new movement. In Islam for example the two main movements or "branches" are Sunni and Shia. In Judaism there is the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements or "branches" Even in the Buddhist religion there are Zen Buddhists and ?? ( I don't know, REGULAR Buddhists?)
Your accusatory question with details declaring,"It's a sin." makes me wonder who appointed you to determine what a sin is. It is also widely acknowledged that false accusations are a "sin". Catholics and other Christians don't pray "to" the cross or Mary, they pray to god and use the cross as a symbolic reminder of the sacrifice and ask Mary to pray with them and for them to god as you might ask a friend to pray with you.
Even if they did (which most of them don't) so, what is your problem or objection with that? They believe and do, whatever they wish to; who are you to label them with "sin" from your point of beliefs? You may not agree with their belief, but they are as well entitled to their belief as you are to your's. Cover your "back" with cloths first, before you can criticize someone for their "hats"!
Catholics don't pray to images or Mary. "Thou shall not have any Gods Before me" we know that. We have those images as a reminder. We're not praying to the cross, its Jesus were praying to. Just like if you kiss a pic of a loved one, your not kissing the Kodak paper, your kissing the person. And we don't pray to Mary. We honor and revere her as the mother of Jesus. We ask her to pray for us. And your right... To do the things you mentioned is a sin, and we don't do them. It's a very common misconception.
Cuz that's their religion. Every religion has their own style. Catholic, Christian, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Jew, Etc. my religion is catholic and we pray because that's what we do and that's our beliefs