Since February, when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) accepted the long-sought endorsement of controversial Pastor John Hagee, the two have come under criticism for Hagee’s past descriptions of Catholicism as “‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.’” On multiple occasions, McCain has distanced himself from Hagee’s anti-Catholic comments while still maintaining that he is “glad” to have his endorsement.
Now, as the media spotlight on him increases, Hagee is attempting to make amends with the Catholic community. The Wall Street Journal reports that he “will issue a letter of apology to the Catholic Church today for inflammatory remarks he has made”:
“Out of a desire to advance 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, according to an advanced copy of the letter reviewed by Washington Wire. “After engaging in constructive dialogue with Catholic friends and leaders, I now have an improved understanding of the Catholic Church, its relation to the Jewish faith, and the history of anti-Catholicism.”
In the letter, addressed to Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League and one of Hagee’s biggest critics, Hagee pledges “a greater level of compassion and respect for my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ.”
But anti-Catholic comments are not the only reason Hagee has sparked controversy. Just last month, he reiterated his prior claim that Hurricane Katrina was punishment to New Orleans for hosting a gay pride parade. Though he appeared to back away from the claim after McCain called it “nonsense,” he re-embraced it last week on a conference call with religious supporters.
Will Hagee issue a similar letter to the gay community pledging “a greater level of compassion and respect for my gay brothers and sisters in Christ?”