A controversy is brewing in Congress: Why did House Speaker Paul Ryan force the House chaplain, Father Patrick Conroy, to resign? Could it be because — as Conroy suggested to the New York Times — the priest slipped a veiled criticism of GOP tax cuts into a prayer?
Conroy, a Catholic priest and a Jesuit, has been the House’s chaplain for seven years. As chaplain, he leads daily prayers in the House and offers pastoral support and counseling to lawmakers of all faiths.
On April 15, he announced that he would resign, effective May 24. His resignation letter, which a congressional source shared widely with the media, made it clear that his resignation was involuntary and at Ryan’s direct request.
Conroy later confirmed this to the New York Times, saying, “I was asked to resign, that is clear,” but said the reason was “unclear” and that “Catholic members on both sides are furious.” A spokesperson for Ryan, AshLee Strong, declined to publicly state a reason for Conroy’s dismissal.