USA lawmakers bicker over chaplain's ouster by Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan reportedly forces out House priest over prayer

The fiasco culminated on Friday when Rep. Joe Crowley, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, triggered a vote with a privileged resolution that would have created a select committee to investigate Conroy's dismissal.

The murkiness has led to allegations from Democrats, which Ryan has further denied, that the decision involved in part a November prayer on the House floor in which Conroy appeared to criticize the GOP's tax cut legislation and included the line: "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".

One prominent Republican has expressed concern over Ryan's decision.

Conroy told the New York Times that shortly afterward Ryan warned him to "stay out of politics".

Another Republican member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Ryan said he's gotten feedback from numerous members over the previous year or so that they'd like a more active spiritual adviser who is more engaged with members and more approachable.

He wrote two versions of his resignation letters, which were both obtained by CNN by a congressional source.

"He assured us that had nothing to do with it", Rep. Mia Love of Utah said.

"Father Pat Conroy's service for the last seven years has been a blessing of grace and dignity to the House of Representatives". "My understanding going into this is that I serve at the prerogative of the speaker". I never heard that from anyone.

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.

While several Representatives on both sides of the isle criticized Ryan for firing Father Conroy for purely political policy reasons, the House Speaker told the House Republican Conference that he took this action because several members felt their "pastoral needs" were not being met. Speaker Paul Ryan this month essentially fired the House chaplain, Father Patrick Conroy.

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However, in his resignation letter, Conroy noted that he was stepping down "as you have requested" and has since made clear that he had no interest in leaving Capitol Hill.

The chaplain's job is to "perform ceremonial, symbolic, and pastoral duties", including opening House sessions with a prayer or coordinating the delivery of the prayer by guest chaplains recommended by members of the House.

Conroy turned in his resignation letter April 16.

At least 148 lawmakers have sent letter to Ryan asking for more information on Conroy's firing, according to NBC News. Conroy is a Jesuit.

"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".

Conroy told the New York Times on Thursday that he did not know why he was ousted, but said last fall a staff member of the speaker's office complained to him that the tax law prayer was too political.

JONES: Well, he told me - he said he thought it was his prayer that he mentioned the tax bill.

In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi disputed the claim that Conroy failed to meet the needs of House members.

If that's what Walker is saying, "then no Catholic priest would ever serve as the spiritual reverend here to the House of Representatives" Crowley said.

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