WASHINGTON — The Rev. Patrick Conroy, the chaplain of the House of Representatives who said last month that he had been forced to resign his position by Speaker Paul Ryan, said Thursday that he's rescinding that decision and wants his job back.
"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 a two-page letter to Ryan, R-Wis., that was obtained by NBC News.
Conroy also claimed in the letter that Ryan’s chief of staff told him, when asked why he was being let go "something like 'maybe it's time that we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic.'"
The office of Ryan, who is himself Catholic, has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the Conroy letter.
Conroy's decision to rescind his resignation comes a week after news of Ryan's decision created a firestorm among lawmakers on Capitol Hill. His last official day was supposed to be May 24. By Friday of last week, more than 100 House members had signed onto a letter to the speaker's office demanding an explanation for Ryan's decision.
The chaplain himself had suggested in an interview with The New York Times last week that he may have been ousted because of a prayer he delivered on the House floor last November about the GOP tax bill. Ryan this week dismissed the claim that his decision had anything to do with politics.
"Father Conroy is a good man and I am grateful for his many years of service to the House. This had nothing to do — this is not about politics or prayers it was about pastoral services," Ryan said. "A number of our members felt like the pastoral services were not being adequately served or offered."
It’s unclear what the next step in the situation might be. Congress is on recess this week.
Then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, nominated Conroy as chaplain in May 2011, in consultation with Pelosi, and he was sworn in that month.
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