After Outcry, House Chaplain Rescinds His Resignation

Rev. Pat Conroy says there was no cause for him to be booted
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2018 5:02 PM CDT
In this June 13, 2016, file photo Rev. Patrick Conroy, chaplain of the House of Representatives, delivers an interfaith message on the steps of the Capitol in Washington for the victims of the mass shooting...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(Newser) – Uproar ensued after Rev. Patrick Conroy, chaplain to the House of Representatives since 2011, submitted his resignation under pressure from House Speaker Paul Ryan last month. Now Conroy, who originally planned to step down May 24, has rescinded that resignation, submitting a new letter to Ryan stating that there was no cause for him to be removed from the position and he intends to continue in his role, CNN reports. "You may wish to outright fire me, if you have the authority to do so, but should you wish to terminate my services, it will be without my offer of resignation," the letter reads, per the Washington Post. In the letter, Conroy says that Ryan himself never confronted Conroy, but Ryan's chief of staff mentioned several reasons behind Ryan's request for Conroy's resignation—including telling Conroy, "Maybe it’s time that we had a chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic."

Conroy says Ryan's chief of staff also mentioned a prayer Conroy delivered during the tax-cut debate in November that some thought implied he was siding with the Democrats (Conroy is a Jesuit priest, and the Jesuit community holds some liberal positions), as well as an interview Conroy gave to the National Journal in January. But, Conroy says in the letter, when questioned about Conroy's ouster, Ryan himself publicly stated it was because Conroy wasn't offering "adequate" pastoral services. "I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House chaplain," Conroy writes, but if that was the reason behind Ryan's request, he says he should have been offered a chance to correct the issue. Hours after the letter made headlines, Ryan released a statement saying Conroy would remain in his role and that the two will sit down together next week, the AP reports.

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