Lawmakers seek answers after Ryan asked House chaplain to resign

Rev. Patrick Conroy at Jesuit High in 2012. Doug Beghtel The Oregonian

Rev. Patrick Conroy at Jesuit High in 2012. Doug Beghtel The Oregonian

On Friday, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley offered up a privileged resolution to establish a six-person select committee to look into Conroy's firing.

Democrats - and Conroy himself - have cited a prayer he offered last Fall that called for fairness as the House debated tax cuts as a reason for GOP discontent with his performance.

Conroy, in The New York Times, expressed bafflement at the situation but hinted that politics did play a role and pointed to his November prayer as a possible explanation.

Although Ryan also is Roman Catholic, he diverges from Vatican doctrine when it comes to aiding the poor, the sick, and the other powerless groups to whom Jesus devoted his ministry, as recounted in the New Testament. Nevertheless, the move has angered members of both parties.

"To me it was an unsatisfactory answer", Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told CNN. "My understanding going into this is that I serve at the prerogative of the speaker".

Father Patrick Conroy, who was forced out by Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcMorris Rodgers seeks to tamp down unrest Conservative group unveils plan to slash spending by trillion Arizona GOP victor to join Freedom Caucus MORE (R-Wis.), is celibate by virtue of his Catholic faith. "So I never heard any of these complaints before". And the speaker said it was just because certain people said he was not complying with their request or was not giving good counsel.

She said she had "serious questions" about the firing, whether it was for the prayer surrounding the tax vote or because Father Conroy had invited a Muslim cleric to pray.

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Lawmakers exiting a GOP meeting Friday said Ryan told them that Conroy was forced out after lawmakers complained that had not been adequately tending to the pastoral needs of lawmakers.

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 tradition of opening each day's sessions with a chaplain's prayer was established by Rev. Jacob Duche who led the first opening prayer at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on September 7, 1774.

"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". The idea that some members felt as though they were not "being ministered to" raised questions of whether it was Conroy's Catholic faith that caused the tension. "May (lawmakers') efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans". "I would ask that rhetorically back to him", said Rep. Father Daniel Coughlin was the first Catholic to occupy the position and was looking to retire from the post in 2010 when then-House Speaker John Boehner had been in talks with fellow Catholic and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about finding a Jesuit they could both support.

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

"We are seeking additional information regarding your decision to request the resignation of Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives", the letter, which was obtained by CNN, states.

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