House chaplain pressured by Paul Ryan to step down rescinds his resignation – ThinkProgress - Only Hit Lyrics

House chaplain pressured by Paul Ryan to step down rescinds his resignation – ThinkProgress

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Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, the House chaplain who resigned after pressure from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) last month, rescinded his resignation Thursday.


Ryan has said the reason he pressured Conroy to resign was because he didn’t believe members were being “adequately served.”


“This was not about politics or prayers, it was about pastoral services. And a number of our members felt like the pastoral services were not being adequately served, or offered,” Ryan said at an event earlier this week.


But Conroy pushed back against that explanation Thursday, saying in a letter rescinding his resignation, “I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House chaplain.”


After Conroy’s resignation, both Politico and The New York Times reported that he was forced out after Republican members of Congress were upset with some of his prayers, including one in particular he delivered last November ahead of the passage of the GOP tax overhaul.



“As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle,” Conroy prayed. “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.”


Late last month, Conroy told the Times he believed that prayer, though Ryan never said as much to him, was the reason he was pressured to resign.


“[A week after that prayer], a staffer [for Speaker Ryan] came down and said, ‘We are upset with this prayer; you are getting too political,’” Conroy told the Times. “It suggests to me that there are members who have talked to him about being upset with that prayer.”


In his letter to Ryan Thursday, Conroy said that Ryan had never spoken with him in person or sent any correspondence when he asked him to resign, instead only sending his Chief of Staff Jonathan Burks to ask Conroy for his letter of resignation.


“I inquired as to whether or not it was ‘for cause,’ and Mr. Burks mentioned dismissively something like ‘maybe it’s time we had a Chaplain that wasn’t Catholic.’ He also mentioned my November prayer and interview with the National Journal Daily,” Conroy wrote in his letter.




As ThinkProgress’ Melanie Schmitz noted last month, “Both Ryan and Conroy are Catholic, although Conroy is Jesuit — a more liberal and scholarly wing of Catholicism that tends to place more emphasis on Catholic social justice teachings — while Ryan is a Catholic conservative.”


The interview Conroy refers to is one he gave in October in which he urged religious tolerance and talked about the public rush to judgment following high profile instances of sexual misconduct.


“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 an offer of my resignation, as you requested,” Conroy wrote Thursday.




He added that he wishes to serve the remainder of his term as House chaplain unless terminated “for cause.” Later, seen leaving the Capitol, Conroy told reporters, “I’m not commenting. The story is not over.”












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