House Dems push for investigation into firing

Posted April 30, 2018

Ryan's only vague reason for the move, which he offered after news of the forced resignation broke, is because, he says, some members felt their "pastoral needs" weren't being met.

But Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told HuffPost on Thursday that he is "informed reliably" by GOP colleagues that Ryan wanted the chaplain gone because he was mad about a prayer that Conroy gave during last fall's debate on the GOP's tax bill.

Conroy said that Speaker Ryan had recently told him, "Padre, you just got to stay out of politics".

Fr Conroy added: "The position is one which I did not seek nor strive to assume, but I have seen it as a blessing and I have considered it one of the great privileges of my life". "Obviously, the Catholic Church and the Republican Party don't always marry up and neither does the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party so I don't think it's supposed to be a litmus test on whether or not it fits neatly into one party or another".

According to The Hill, which first reported the story, Conroy makes it clear in his resignation announcement, which came last week but was not revealed until Thursday, that it was submitted at the behest of Ryan.

Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association - a Washington-based group that describes itself as "dedicated to being a faithful Catholic voice in the public square - defended Speaker Ryan and said anyone who knows him "knows he is a devoted Catholic". 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.

Conroy, a Roman Catholic priest from the Jesuit order, had served as the chamber's chaplain since 2011.

Just a few days before he was asked to resign, he told Catholics in California that he is "in the one job in the United States where I absolutely have to abstain from politics!" Earlier this month, Conroy was told the speaker would like his resignation, the priest told the Times.

"Invoking fairness if you're a chaplain is apparently a firing offense", said Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly, among many Democrats pushing for an investigation of the firing.

Lawmakers are at odds about why Rev. Patrick Conroy, a Jesuit priest, was forced to resign.

"If Paul Ryan had a problem with Fr Pat Conroy's prayer about tax reform and the poor then he will really have a problem with the New Testament", Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.) tweeted.

Conroy's firing is the first ouster of its kind in the history of the House. Paul Ryan is a lying, hypocritical piece of crap, and I can not wait until the day that he is no longer the Speaker of the House and a member of the House of Representatives.

'We deserve more of an explanation and why.

The chaplains in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives open each session with a prayer, they coordinate religious programs, preside over funerals and memorial services, and provide pastoral care for members of Congress, their staffs, and their families. So I never heard any of these complaints before ...

While an aide to Ryan told one reporter that Conroy was not asked to resign over any one specific prayer, Democratic lawmakers are demanding more answers.