Fired House Chaplain: Catholic Lawmakers On Both Sides Are ‘Furious’

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)
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)

House Chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy spoke out in a Thursday New York Times report about his firing, confirming that he was blindsided by Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) decision and was never told why he has been dismissed.

“I was asked to resign, that is clear,” Conroy told the New York Times. He added that it is “unclear” why.

“I certainly wasn’t given anything in writing,” he continued. “Catholic members on both sides are furious.”

The only possible rationale Conroy could identify is a prayer he delivered the day that the House was marking up the GOP tax bill.

“May all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle,” he prayed then. “May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”

According to the New York Times, Ryan approached him a week after the prayer, warning him to stay out of politics.

Conroy reportedly said that he had never been scolded for being too political in his seven years in the House, adding that just as a hospital chaplain prays about health issues, the chaplain for Congress prays about the politics of the day.

Though Conroy does not plan to fight his dismissal, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are irate about the decision and seeking answers. Per the New York Times, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) are leading the charge to collect signatures on a letter to Ryan demanding his rationale and the standards to which future chaplains will be held.

Conroy, a Jesuit and only the second Catholic to ever hold the post, has served since being nominated by former speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in 2011. His last day is scheduled for May 24.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: