Paul Ryan dismisses House of Representatives chaplain

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

Tom Williams CQ-Roll Call Group

Conroy, who has served as chaplain for nearly seven years, told the Times that the next time he saw Ryan, the speaker said: "Padre, you just got to stay out of politics".

Conroy is a Roman Catholic priest from the Jesuit order.

Ryan, Pelosi and Crowley are all Catholic. "It is such an unprecedented action to be to only be taken for very, very serious issues". The speaker said it was just because certain people felt he was not complying with their requests or was not giving them good counseling. "It suggests to me that there are members who have talked to him about being upset with that prayer". Conroy was told he was being asked to resign but not told why.

Democrats are demanding answers as to why the U.S. House Chaplain resigned from his post earlier this month.

"I certainly wasn't given anything in writing", he said.

"Absent transparency, we are also concerned about the implicit damage done to the reputation of the House chaplain personally", the letter continued.

Connolly also bemoaned the process through which Conroy was reportedly asked to give his resignation.

He submitted his letter of resignation yesterday, and in it he says, "As requested, here is my resignation, effective May 24th of this year".

Ashlee Strong, a spokesman for Ryan, said it was the speaker's decision, but offered no explanation for the move, adding that Pelosi and her office "were fully read in and did not object".

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blasted the speaker in an unusually harsh statement. "He is deeply admired by members and staff. Father Conroy's ministry here has made a difference, and we are all very grateful to him". But maybe some members were hearing "My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves" even if that's not what Conroy said. Wallace Mohammed was the first Muslim in 1992, and Rajan Zed was the first Hindu to say the opening prayer for the Senate in 2007. "So I never heard any of these complaints before".

'We deserve more of an explanation and why. Was there political pressure?

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"Paul said that was not the issue", King said. "Paul said it was exclusively because he wasn't giving good service to the members. Again, I had never heard that before". Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), both former pastors, to lead the search effort to find a new chaplain for when Conroy leaves at the end of May.

During his tenure as House Chaplain, Rev. Conroy's presence has been seen as increasingly problematic by conservatives and faithful Catholics.

Speaking to reporters later on Friday morning, Walker claimed his comments had been "taken out of context" and that he meant the next chaplain should have experience working with families. "What they thought I was talking about was somebody that had to be married - not at all".

So, who should we believe, the priest or the politician? "He has always been positively interactive with me".

Denominations previously represented by the House chaplaincy include Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Unitarian, Congregationalist, Episcopalian, Disciples of Christ, Christian and Lutheran, according to a House historial website.

"I think he is a great priest", he said. It was eventually voted down by the House.

"For a lot of members, the outrage is personal, and it's not about Catholicism", Connolly told CNN.

Democrats demanded a special committee be formed to investigate the ouster, but their proposal was voted down on a largely party-line vote in the Republican-majority chamber.

A senior GOP aide mentioned Conroy's exit "was not due to any specific prayer".

Most of the Catholic Democrats questioning Conroy's resignation have long histories of voting in favor of abortion as well as gay and transgender issues.

At least two sources suggested to the paper that this speech, which Ryan saw as partisan, was the reason for his firing.

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