Paul Ryan reinstates Jesuit as House Chaplain

Rev. Patrick Conroy, chaplain of the House of Representatives, waits to speak at memorial service for U.S. Capitol Police officers who lost their lives in the line on duty, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 8, 2018. House Speaker Paul Ryan has met with the House chaplain he ousted last month, then reinstated after the chaplain said a Ryan aide told him it might be time to put a non-Catholic in the job. Ryan told reporters he and the Rev. Patrick Conroy talked about how to improve pastoral services over coffee Tuesday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan met Tuesday with the House chaplain he ousted last month, then reinstated after the chaplain complained a Ryan aide told him it might be time to put a non-Catholic in the job.

Ryan told reporters he and the Rev. Patrick Conroy talked about how to improve pastoral services over coffee Tuesday. Later, Ryan swore Conroy in again, a step that was needed because the chaplain had already resigned.

Advertisement

Just last month Ryan instructed top aide Jonathan Burks to demand Conroy's resignation, saying he was dissatisfied with Conroy's pastoral services.

Conroy said he wasn't told of deficiencies in his performance. He sent a scalding letter to Ryan alleging Burks told him "maybe it's time that we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic." Conroy is a Roman Catholic priest from the Jesuit order.

Burks denied the allegation but Ryan reversed course and reinstated Conroy. Ryan said that it would not be healthy for the House to keep battling over the chaplain.

Democrats howled when Conroy was forced out, charging that a November prayer regarding the GOP tax bill that upset many Republicans was behind the move.

Conroy had prayed for lawmakers to make sure that "there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans."

Ryan told reporters he and the Rev. Patrick Conroy talked about how to improve pastoral services over coffee Tuesday. Later, Ryan swore Conroy in again, a step that was needed because the chaplain had already resigned.

Conroy told The New York Times that shortly afterward Ryan warned Conroy to "stay out of politics." Conroy also invited a Muslim cleric last year to give the opening prayer, a move that Democrats say may have upset GOP conservatives.

On Tuesday, Ryan sought to put the controversy behind him.

"Father Pat and I had a good cup of coffee this morning. We talked about how to improve the services going forward," said Ryan, R-Wis. "We're going to keep talking and I feel good about where things are."

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Lisa Weber
1 year 6 months ago

Paul Ryan is out of his league when he is dealing with Fr. Conroy.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Refugees and migrants at a camp on the Greek island of Samos, on Oct. 18.  (AP Photo/Michael Svarnias)
More people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time in recorded history, writes Kevin White of Jesuit Refugee Service. But there is good news about global initiatives to address the problem.
Kevin White, S.J.November 12, 2019
On Nov. 12, the U.S. bishops elected Archbishop Gomez to be the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the first ballot.
J.D. Long-GarcíaNovember 12, 2019
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, right, applauds as Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles acknowledges the applause after being named the new president during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore Nov. 12, 2019. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Archbishop Gomez leads the largest U.S. diocese, Los Angeles, home to more than four million Catholics, and has been a vocal proponent of rights for immigrants.
Michael J. O’LoughlinNovember 12, 2019
Watch talks by James Martin, S.J., Sr. Peggy O'Neill and more here.
America FilmsNovember 12, 2019