A well-known Christian televangelist apologized Tuesday for making comments which were misconstrued as an attack on the Catholic church.
"I feel the need after days of media misrepresentation to respond to slanderous accusations about being a religious bigot," Hagee stated in a statement, Tuesday. "It is truly disappointing to me to see how quickly accusation and rumor crystallize into fact in the hands of media outlets, which do not seem interested in subjecting these claims to serious review in search of the truth."
Several media outlets have reported that Hagee called the Catholic church "the great whore" and "the apostate church." In reality, he did not.
Click here to watch a video clip of the teaching to see and hear what Hagee actually said.
The comments were taken out of context in a teaching Hagee did from the book of Revelation on "The Great Tribulation."
CBN News reviewed video of the teaching segment, which clearly shows Hagee using "end times" terminology about the "false religious state" in the time after the rapture of the Church.
"I hope you recognize that I have repeatedly stated that my interpretation of Revelation leads me to conclude that the "apostate church" and "the great whore" appear only during the seven years of tribulation after all true believers - Catholic and Protestant - have been taken up to Heaven," Hagee wrote in his apology letter. "Therefore, neither of these phrases can be synonymous with the Catholic church."
His apology was sent in a letter to William Donohue of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights.
"Out of a desire to advance a greater unity among Catholics and Evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful," Hagee wrote.
The letter came after Hagee met with 22 religious activists, most of them Catholic, on May 9. Hagee has publicly endorsed Sen. John McCain for president, but drew sharp rebukes from leaders over his statements some interpreted as being anti-Catholic.
The comments threatened to haunt McCain on the campaign trail, but the senator has said he did not agree with Hagee's remarks. He stopped short of denouncing the pastor's support.
Donohue said the letter of apology was sufficient to end the controversy.
"The tone of Hagee's letter is sincere. He wants reconciliation and he has achieved it. Indeed, the Catholic League welcomes his apology," he said in a posting on the Catholic League's website. "What Hagee has done takes courage and, quite frankly, I never expected him to demonstrate such sensitivity to our concerns. But he has done just that."
"Now Catholics, along with Jews, can work with Pastor Hagee in making interfaith relations stronger than ever," he said. "Whatever problems we had before are now history. This case is closed."
The two men are expected to meet in New York on Thursday.
*Sources: Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights and John Hagee Ministries. Copyright 2008, The Christian Broadcasting Network.