Published: Tue, May 08, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Paul Ryan reinstates pro-gay Jesuit House chaplain who challenged ouster

Paul Ryan reinstates pro-gay Jesuit House chaplain who challenged ouster

House Chaplain Pat Conroy on Monday presided over his first opening prayer since rescinding his resignation last week, thanking "God for giving us another day" in his remarks on the House floor.

Conroy, who had agreed to resign under pressure last month, sent Ryan a letter rescinding his resignation. "My original decision was produced in that which I believed to be the ideal interest of the association. To be clear, that call was based mostly on my obligation to make sure that the Home has the sort of pastoral providers that it deserves", he stated. He added, "It is my job as speaker to do what is best for this body, and I know that this body is not well served by a protracted fight over such an important post". That letter accused a top Ryan staff aide of telling him "something like 'maybe it's time that we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic'".

Conroy mentioned top Ryan aide Jonathan Burks advised me the speaker needed his own resignation, and cited a prayer a year ago that was potentially vital of their GOP tax bill that angry many Republicans.

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. Burks responded that he "strongly disagree [s] with Father Conroy's recollection of our conversation". Ryan claimed, at the time, to be "dissatisfied with the Chaplain's pastoral care".

But in an interview with The New York Times, Father Conroy said he thought that a prayer he delivered in November when Congress was debating a tax overhaul may have been a factor in the speaker's decision.

A senior GOP leadership aide maintained that "there was not a specific prayer" that led to Ryan's decision to request Conroy's resignation.

In the prayer, the chaplain urged lawmakers to "guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans".

The drama over the House chaplain appears to be far from over.

Ryan has told fellow Republicans that he wanted to oust the House chaplain, a Roman Catholic priest from the Jesuit arrangement, after complaints by associates that he wasn't undertaking a exact great career. Father Conroy is a Jesuit, an order of priests viewed by some as more liberal.

To read Father Conroy's letter, go here. It is my desire to continue to serve as House Chaplain in this 115th 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 the membership of the House.

In his letter from this week, Conroy noted the apparent lack of consultation with other House members before his attempted ouster. That puts the ball squarely in the court of Speaker Ryan. The hubbub around Father Conroy is all the more contentious in Catholic circles because Mr. Ryan is a Catholic conservative.

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