(Note that this same question/argument applies when substituting “statues” for “Mary”)
Catholics are constantly accused by Protestants of worshiping Mary, the Mother of God. Catholics also constantly deny that they worship her. The question for Protestants making the accusation is this: if the accusation is true, WHY would Catholics deny it, and what would a Catholic expect the consequences to be if they did deny it?
Catholics and Protestants alike worship God, and neither would deny that worship under the most extreme duress (of course under extreme duress some would always cave in). Catholics and Protestants would at least want to believe that they would suffer and die before they denied worshiping God, because God is truly worthy of that worship and also, perhaps, because of the grave consequences that would result from such a denial. Catholics and Protestants are agreed up to this point.
But then many Protestants accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary, and we vehemently deny it, and further claim it would be a grave sin to do so. Now, if Catholics truly believed that Mary was deserving of worship, what possible reason would they have for denying it and claiming it was a sin? What possible reason would they have for rejecting what would be one of their core beliefs (if the accusation were true), and damning themselves in the process? So the Protestants will like them better? Do we deny we believe in God so atheists will like us better? Do we deny the divinity of Christ so Jews and Muslims will like us better?
Even from a Protestant perspective, the accusation makes no sense, no sense at all.