Lawmakers upset Paul Ryan fired House chaplain

Lawmakers upset Paul Ryan fired House chaplain

Lawmakers upset Paul Ryan fired House chaplain

Other Democratic Representatives have pointed to clashing ideologies of Catholicism between Ryan, who is a conservative Catholic, and Conroy, who belongs to the more liberal Jesuit branch of the faith.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., dismissed the Rev. Patrick Conroy this month as chaplain of the chamber, an unusual decision that angered some of the Jesuit priest's allies in Congress.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, said though it was Ryan's decision, Pelosi and her office "were fully read in and did not object" to the dismissal, The Hill reported.

The California Democrat says his ouster "is hard to understand & impossible to support".

Like his premature decision to exit the speakership, Ryan's handling of the chaplain's dismissal reminds us how tone-deaf he can be.

Ryan did not even have the courtesy to inform Conroy of his decision in person.

Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia says that answers are necessary.

Kaptur said that while Conroy did submit his resignation as requested by Ryan she believes he did so under duress and thus the validity of that action is open to question. His comments fueled Democrats' speculation on Capitol Hill that it was over the political tone in his prayers.

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., said Ryan told members "that there were concerns expressed to him, the speaker, from a large number of members that their pastoral needs were not being met by Father Conroy". His explanation didn't assure all Republicans, either. Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) were the only Republicans who voted with Democrats to create the committee.

"To me, it would only be taken if there were very, very serious issues", King said. Pierce wondered. "I think it's the silliest thing I've ever heard". In an interview, Father Conroy was categorical: His departure was not voluntary.

Congress adjourned Friday for a weeklong recess.

Conroy's replacement should be forewarned: No Sermon on the Mount, and be careful when it comes to Proverbs. No specific prayer was said to be the cause, the source said.

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A big fight has broken out in the House of Representatives over a position that isn't normally controversial. Nancy Pelosi was told in advance that Chaplain Conroy would be leaving his post at the House of Representatives.

A reason for the call for Fr. Conroy's resignation was not immediately available. Here's NPR's Tom Gjelten.

What is unclear is why Ryan, who is also Catholic, ousted Conroy.

Cleaver noted that the Jesuit's career and reputation is forever damaged by the episode, "especially when a Catholic priest dismissed - oh jeez, all this other stuff that's been going on with these priests, and this is bad, this is absolutely terrible".

Some Democrats, however, believe he was ousted over a prayer he'd given previous year amid House Republicans' sweeping tax reform efforts. Conroy has since spoken to House members about his firing, including Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina.

As Crowley spoke to offer his privileged resolution, a majority of the Democratic Caucus stood behind him.

GJELTEN: And what did he tell you?

Conroy "was responsive to me and my sons after the shooting a year ago", said Rep. Joe Barton, whose sons were present during the shooting in Virginia.

"The guy is a priest, he's there to pray", he continued.

Until then, the speaker doesn't have a prayer.

Connolly is just one of at least 150 members in both parties asking Ryan for a better explanation.

One prominent Republican was upset too.

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