Mother Jones reports:
Reverend Patrick Conroy, the chaplain for the US House of Representatives, surprised federal lawmakers when he announced his retirement earlier this month. As it turns out, his move wasn’t voluntary. New reports suggest that the chaplain, who is a Roman Catholic priest, was forced out by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). The move raises questions from religious leaders and lawmakers, who see Conroy’s ouster as the politicization of a traditionally nonpartisan role.
According to the publications, House sources who had recently met with Rev. Conroy said Ryan’s office told him that he must resign or he would be fired. Rev. Conroy’s letter of resignation, submitted to the House Speaker corroborates the reports. “As you have requested,” Conroy wrote, “I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th chaplain of the United States House of Representatives.”
The Washington Post reports:
In an interview, Conroy said he did not know whether politics were behind his departure. But he pointed to a prayer he had given on the House floor in November, when Congress was debating tax overhaul legislation.
“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 said at the time. “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.”
About a week later, Conroy heard from the speaker’s office. “A staffer came down and said, We are upset with this prayer; you are getting too political,” he said.