House Chaplain Patrick Conroy Reinstated After Fighting Forced Resignation By Paul Ryan
Patrick Conroy, the Catholic priest whose resignation from his post with House of Representatives was forced by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, rescinded his resignation and was reinstated as House chaplain.
Conroy sent Ryan a letter yesterday, obtained by The New York Times, arguing for his reinstatement.
“I was elected as House Chaplain on May 25, 2011, and I have honorably served in that role since that time,” Conroy wrote in the letter. “I was re-elected House Chaplain in every succeeding Congress. I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House Chaplain.”
Conroy also told Ryan he wanted to serve until the end of his current two-year term. He said that on April 13, Ryan’s Chief of Staff, Jonathan Burks, told him that Ryan was expecting his resignation letter. According to Conroy, Burks “dismissively” said that perhaps it was because there should be a non-Catholic Chaplain. “Maybe it’s time that we had a chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic,” Burks reportedly told Conroy.
Burks also brought up a November prayer during which Conroy prayed that Congress would vote on a tax bill that would “guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”
“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 wrote to Ryan. “Recently, on April 27, you publicly indicated that my ‘pastoral services’ to some Members were lacking and that I did not offer adequate ‘spiritual counseling’ to others. This is not the reason that Mr. Burks gave me when asking for my ‘resignation.’ In fact, no such criticism has ever been leveled against me during my tenure as House Chaplain.”
Conroy then went on to say that if there were any perceived faults on his end, he wanted the opportunity to correct them. He also seemed to dare Ryan to flat out fire him.
“I also write this letter because I do not wish to have my ‘resignation’ be construed as a ‘constructive termination,’” Conroy said. “You may wish to outright ‘fire’ me, if you have the authority to do so, but should you wish to terminate my services, it will be without my offer of resignation, as you requested.”