Lawmakers ask why the congressional chaplain 'was asked to resign'

Patrick Conroy: House Chaplain Proffers Resignation At Speaker Paul Ryan's Request, Ignites Outrage In Capitol

Inside sources from both parties claim that Conroy was ousted after Ryan became frustrated with the chaplain's attempt to bring bipartisanship to the capitol.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is under fire on Friday after it was reported he forced out House Chaplain Patrick Conroy from his post, allegedly over a recent prayer that called for-get this-a fairer tax code.

"As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives". The Republican Party speaks often of its support for religious freedom, but perhaps they don't mean to preserve it for everybody. Both Ryan and Connolly are Catholic.

It's telling of this GOP-led Congress, though, that a popular chaplain may have may pushed out of his role because he was echoing Jesus' call to care for the poor or allowing a member of another faith (though not atheists) to deliver the opening prayer before a legislative session.

One of the initial actions taken by the first U.S. Senate in 1789 was to select the Right Reverend Samuel Provoost, Episcopal Bishop of NY to serve as the first Senate Chaplain.

Jesuits close to Conroy told CNN that Ryan's office asked Conroy to come by the speaker's office around the Easter recess.

That prayer from the chaplain, the holy man of the US House of Representatives, pissed Paul Ryan off, because he understood what his tax bill was all about.

Father Conroy is a West Coast Jesuit who taught and coached at Jesuit High School in Portland.

"This is terrible. This is absolutely very bad", said Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat and Methodist minister, adding that Conroy should at least have been allowed to stay until the new Congress is sworn in next January.

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Conroy's letter of resignation, a replica of which was obtained by The Hill, mentioned he was stepping down due to a request from the Wisconsin Republican, who can also be a Catholic.

In an interview with The New York Times, Conroy hinted that was a probable reason, since he was chastised after the prayer.

Pelosi released a statement Friday saying Conroy "ministered to the needs" of members and that his term had been a "blessing of grace and dignity". His explanation didn't assure all Republicans, either.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., was more critical. "It is such an unprecedented action to be to only be taken for very, very serious issues".

The December 2017 passage of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" was thrilling to a great many people, among them Donald Trump, corporate America, and the uber rich, whom the legislation was structured to disproportionately benefit. "So I never heard any of these complaints before". "It suggests to me that there are members who have talked to him about being upset with that prayer".

Democrat Gerry Connolly of Virginia told NPR, "Why wouldn't you counsel him to do better if there was a problem?"

According to the House guidelines on the chaplaincy, the chaplaincy is a tradition handed down from the Continental Congress.

Democrats and Republicans want to know whether Conroy was sacked because Ryan objected to a prayer Conroy offered in the House chamber on November 6, as the Ways and Means Committee began work on a trillion-dollar, deficit-financed tax bill created to benefit the wealthiest Americans.

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