"My intention in bringing it to the screen is to create a lasting work of art and engender serious thought among audiences of diverse faith backgrounds," Gibson said in a statement to Variety on Friday.
His statement came after the film--which looks at Christ during the last 12 hours of his life and features dialogue only in Latin and Aramaic with no English subtitles--received criticism from religious factions as being anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. Yet as Gibson was making his remarks, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had been critical of The Passion, apologized for attacking a film that is still unreleased, AP reports.
"If the intense scrutiny during my 25 years in public life revealed I had ever persecuted or discriminated against anyone based on race or creed, I would be all too willing to make amends. But there is no such record," the actor's statement read in Variety.