He seems like a fairly rational guy - the kind of guy who would realize that there is a difference between asking Mr. Jones your next-door neighbor to pray for you, and supplicating Mary on bended knee with candles burning and incense wafting through the air in front of an expensive, marble statue of her.Yes, there is, and yes, the Pope would say there is a difference, too - but not exactly the one that TF thinks.
There's a difference between going to your neighbor's house for dinner and going to the boss's house. There's a difference between a meeting at the office with one's coworkers and a meeting with customers. There is a difference between visiting your folks' home and visiting a head of state. Presumably TF would agree with these distinctions; he doesn't seem to be a radical egalitarian! Well, it is precisely this sort of distinction that stands with regard to our approach to the Blessed Virgin in seeking her intercession versus asking Bob next door to do the same. The social expectations are different. We don't treat customers the way that we treat employees; we don't treat the boss the way we treat the neighbors. We don't treat the President the same way we would treat our friends. A man may kneel before his king, but he shakes the hand of his President. One's office and standing have a bearing on the measure and manner of the respect and honor he is due.
Now TF obviously is wrong about the Blessed Virgin when he says that there is something wrong with Catholic veneration of her. He ought at least to be able to recognize, though, that our behavior towards her is consistent with our view of her standing in the Church and before God. Yes, we treat her with greater respect than Bob next door, and we even value her prayers on our behalf more than the Bob's (and this implies no disrespect toward Bob at all, just as kneeling before the king implies no disrespect toward those before whom we would not kneel).
You don't treat the mother of the King the way that you treat a waitress. You don't treat one who has been perfected in holiness like someone you meet on the bus. You don't treat one who beholds the face of the Father like the buddy you invite over for the Super Bowl. You just don't.