House chaplain ousted by Paul Ryan rescinds his resignation


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.

More on Rev. Patrick Conroy

13 PHOTOS
Rev. Patrick Conroy as chaplain of the House
See Gallery
Rev. Patrick Conroy as chaplain of the House
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 14: House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy, Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., center, and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., attend a swearing-in ceremony for the new Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, September 14, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Patrick Conroy, Chaplain of the House of Representatives, leads Democrats and Republicans in prayer before they face off in the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington, U.S., June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
UNITED STATES - MARCH 07: Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., right, check on judges former Rep. Vin Weber, R-Minn., left, and House Chaplain Patrick Conroy during the second annual 'hotdish' competition in the Capitol Visitor Center, featuring casserole-like dishes from members of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation. The dishes of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., tied for first place in the competition. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES ? SEPTEMBER 12: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, left, and Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, members of both houses of Congress down the East Front steps of the Capitol to hold a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony on Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, speaks on the East Front steps of the Capitol during the 9/11 Congressional Remembrance Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: From left, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., join members of Congress on the east steps of the Capitol during the 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony on on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 11: Rev. Patrick Conroy, Chaplain of the House, attends the 2013 National Days of Remembrance ceremony in the Capitol rotunda to honor the victims of the Holocaust. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 21: Chris Martin with other NAMM members meet with Rep. Matt Cartwright(D-PA), Father Patrick J. Conroy and Rep. Joseph Crowley(D-NY) on the steps of the capitol during NAMM D.C. Fly-in at the US Capitol on May 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for NAMM)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 21: Chris Martin with other NAMM members meet with Rep. Matt Cartwright(D-PA), Father Patrick J. Conroy and Rep. Joseph Crowley(D-NY) on the steps of the capitol during NAMM D.C. Fly-in at the US Capitol on May 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for NAMM)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 4: Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, left, and Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., walk up the House steps as members of Congress arrive for votes in the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 13: Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., center, is consoled by Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, Father Patrick J. Conroy, left, as Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., looks on at conclusion of the vigil and moment of silence on U.S. Capitol Steps on Monday, June 13, 2016, in remembrance of victims of the Orlando shooting. The event was held by the LGBT Congressional Staff Association and the Congressional Muslim Staff Association. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 18: Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, blesses the walnut tree during the tree planting ceremony in memory of Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 18: From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Daniel Secatore, grandson of Louise Slaughter, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, pose shoveling dirt during the walnut tree planting ceremony in memory of Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story