House chaplain wins job back after scalding letter to Ryan

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After rescinding his resignation, claiming politics and anti-Catholic bias had been behind efforts to drive him out, Home Chaplain Father Patrick Conroy says if Home Speaker Ryan desires him gone he'll have to fireside him outright.

In the letter, ostensibly addressed to Ryan, but quickly made public, Conroy said the aide in question, Jonathan Burks, told Conroy the Speaker wanted him to resign over, in part, a prayer the Chaplain led that, Burks said, offered a negative view of the GOP tax bill. "A number of our members were not being adequately served or offered services, so I made a decision on behalf of the House, on behalf of making sure we could have adequate pastoral services".

In that regard, it's worth noting that Ryan is, of course, Catholic himself and the idea that he'd bow to pressure from Evangelicals who objected to a Catholic, and more specifically a Jesuit, Chaplain was in charge of the "pastoral care" of the House of Representatives. Within hours, Ryan backed down and agreed to leave Conroy in his post at least through the end of the year, ending the possibility of what Ryan feared would be a "protracted fight" over what is supposed to be a unifying and spiritual position in the partisan chamber. "I inquired as to whether or not it was 'for cause, ' and Mr. Burks mentioned dismissively something like, 'maybe it's time that we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic'". In a November 6 prayer to open the day's Home session, he warned members to "be conscious" of financial disparities amongst social lessons, and cautioned legislators to not decide "winners and losers underneath new tax legal guidelines". In his letter to Mr. Ryan, the chaplain said that Mr. Burks, the speaker's chief of staff, had also mentioned the prayer, as well as an interview Father Conroy had given to The National Journal.

Whereas the choice to ask for Conroy's resignation was Ryan's, a senior Home GOP aide and a senior aide to Home Democratic Chief Nancy Pelosi stated she was consulted all through the personnel choice.

Pelosi launched her personal assertion Thursday, saying she was joyful that Conroy could be staying on as chaplain.

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Ryan accepts Father Patrick Conroy's request to rescind his resignation letter.

"This is not about politics or prayers, it's about pastoral services", he told The Weekly Standard. Conroy also invited a Muslim cleric previous year to give the opening prayer, a move that Democrats say may have upset GOP conservatives.

This occurred when it was announced that the U.S. House of Representatives would fire its longtime chaplain, the Rev. "My problem is I was never told that that was the case". For now, it's enough to say that Father Conroy un-resigned and now has his job back.

Ryan received significant resistance from both parties over the move, including a letter from 148 House members. "Nonetheless, many distressing questions should nonetheless be answered in regards to the motivations behind Father Conroy's unwarranted and unjust dismissal".