House chaplain rescinds resignation after furor over his ouster by Ryan

Elias Hubbard
May 4, 2018

The House chaplain, Rev. Patrick Conroy, has chose to fight Speaker Paul Ryan's move to oust him - telling the Republican leader on Thursday he wants to retract the resignation letter he submitted at Ryan's direction. The rule specifically leaves out the chaplain as to who can be removed by the speaker.

"I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House chaplain", Conroy wrote in the letter.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, particularly numerous more than 140 Catholics, questioned the timing of the decision and complained that Ryan had only given vague reasons for why Conroy was pushed out. While many believed his departure from the post was voluntary, last week it was revealed that it actually came at Ryan's request. Ryan has said he was dissatisfied with Conroy's pastoral care to lawmakers.

The House Chaplain said Thursday he won't resign after all, amid controversy over House Speaker Paul Ryan's decision to push him out.

None of the lawmakers who complained to Ryan have spoken publicly about their criticism of Conroy's work, leaving a vacuum that Conroy and his defenders have filled. The priest asked why he was being forced out.

Ryan has told fellow Republicans that he fired the House chaplain, a Roman Catholic priest from the Jesuit order, after complaints from members that he wasn't doing a very good job.

Democrats - and Conroy himself - have cited a prayer he offered last fall that called for fairness as the House debated tax cuts as a reason for GOP discontent with his performance. May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans. "He also mentioned my November prayer and an interview with the National Journal Daily".

"I have expressed my forceful disagreement with this decision to the speaker", House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement on Friday.

"It is my desire to serve as House Chaplain in this 115 United States Congress to the end of my current two-year term, and beyond, unless my services are officially terminated (however that is properly done) or I am not re-elected to the position by membership of the House", wrote Conroy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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