Jesuit House Chaplain Forced to Resign by Paul Ryan

Rev. Patrick Conroy at Jesuit High in 2012. Doug Beghtel The Oregonian

Rev. Patrick Conroy at Jesuit High in 2012. Doug Beghtel The Oregonian

Conroy is just the second Catholic priest to serve as House chaplain, after the Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin, who was chosen for the post in 2000 after a months-long protest by Catholic lawmakers.

Another Democratic source gave another reason for the ouster, saying: "Some of the more conservative evangelical Republicans didn't like that the Father had invited a Muslim person to give the opening prayer", The Hill reported.

In his resignation letter to Mr. Ryan, Conroy wrote, "As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th chaplain of the United States House of Representatives". "The position is one which I did not seek nor strive to assume, but I have seen it as a blessing and I have considered it one of the great privileges of my life".

The chaplain is responsible for opening the House each day with a prayer and offering counseling to lawmakers and aides on the House side of the Capitol.

The issue has also split Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Conroy delivered a prayer previous year before a House debate about the GOP tax bill in which he urged lawmakers to "guarantee that there are not winners and losers under the new tax laws".

Ryan's spokesperson AshLee Strong denied that Conroy was pushed out for anything he said or did, but she didn't elaborate on what triggered the resignation request.

Pelosi's office said that she made it clear that she disagreed with the decision and said she only heard positive comments from lawmakers about Conroy.




According to the publications, House sources who had recently met with Rev. Conroy said Ryan's office told him that he must resign or he would be fired.

"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".

Father Pat Conroy resigned April 15 after he spent almost seven years praying at the outset of House sessions.

The prayer was said in November amid the tax reform debate. At Wednesday's House GOP caucus, Ryan announced that Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.) would lead a bipartisan committee to recommend a replacement for Conroy.

"A staffer came down and said, We are upset with this prayer; you are getting too political", Conroy told The New York Times. "Well, I still don't understand why he was asked to leave", said Rep. But some House members are demanding answers, including Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina, who said, "I'm very upset". "My understanding going into this is that I serve at the prerogative of the speaker".

That outraged some Catholics, who felt Walker was eliminating Catholic priests from consideration due to their vows of celibacy. Some Catholic Democrats, like Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), called Walker's remark "anti-Catholic - on its face".

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