Published: Fri, May 04, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

House chaplain rescinds resignation, dares Ryan to fire him

House chaplain rescinds resignation, dares Ryan to fire him

Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, forced the Rev.

Had Ryan not accepted Conroy's rescission of his resignation, Connolly said wounds that had been opened by the decision would continue to fester.

Conroy chose to fight Ryan's move to oust him - telling the Republican leader on Thursday he wanted to retract the resignation letter he submitted at Ryan's direction last month.

But in a statement Thursday, Ryan - himself a Catholic - reversed course.

"I intend to sit down with Father Conroy early next week so that we can move forward for the good of the whole House", Ryan said.

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Complaining that Mr. Ryan never spoke to him in person, Father Conroy also suggested his Catholic faith played a role in his dismissal. "I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House Chaplain", Conroy wrote in the letter.

"To be clear, that decision was based on my duty to ensure that the House has the kind of pastoral services that it deserves", Ryan said.

Burks, in a statement released by Ryan's office, said "I strongly disagree with Father Conroy's recollection of our conversation". But Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told HuffPost that it may have stemmed from a prayer the priest made on the House floor last fall amid debate over the GOP tax bill. "May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all", Conroy said.

Conroy told The New York Times last week that shortly afterward Ryan warned Conroy to "stay out of politics".

But Democrats have come to Conroy's defense. Many pro-abortion Catholic Democrats have attacked what Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of NY calls a "shameful anti-Catholic move motivated by conservative extremists in Congress".

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Conroy has served as the chamber's chaplain since 2011.

Ryan's retreat came quickly.

"At that point, I thought that I had little choice but to resign, as my assumption was that you had the absolute prerogative and authority to end my term as House Chaplain", Conroy continued, but upon hearing that Ryan's new justification was that Conroy did not "offer adequate "spiritual counseling, '" Conroy felt compelled to withdraw his letter, saying that Ryan hadn't given him the chance to "correct such 'faults, '" if they existed".

Ryan allowing Conroy to remain chaplain should help cool some of the frustration and religious tensions that had erupted over his initial decision.

"My personal sense is this was a fight not worth having from Paul Ryan's standpoint", said Matthew Wilson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University and an expert on religion and politics.

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"Father Conroy is a good man, and I'm grateful for his many years of service to the House", Ryan said. In his letter to Ryan on Thursday, the priest said he meant to serve out his current two-year term and possibly "beyond", unless he is officially terminated or not re-elected. Marchese declined to comment other than to say Conroy is seeking to get his job back. "If you are a chaplain of Congress, you are going to pray about what Congress is doing". Pat Conroy, the House chaplain, to rescind his resignation, following a week's worth of lawmakers from both parties questioning Ryan's request that Conroy step down.

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