House Speaker Paul Ryan has forced out the House chaplain, Reverend Patrick Conroy.
Conroy had served as the chamber’s chaplain since 2011 but offered his resignation last week at Ryan’s urging.
Conroy’s resignation letter said he was offering to step down at Ryan’s request, calling his seven years of House service ‘one of the great privileges of my life.’
But one senior Democratic aide told The Hill that people thought Conroy was pushed out because ‘Republicans thought he was aligned with Democrats’.
Ryan spokeswoman Ashlee Strong would not reveal the speaker’s reasons for forcing Conroy out.
Reverend Patrick Conroy offered his resignation last week at House Speaker Paul Ryan’s urging. Conroy served on the House floor for seven years
A spokesperson for Ryan offered no explanation as to why the chaplain was asked to leave. Reports have said Ryan forced him out because ‘he aligned with the Democrats’
‘As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives,’ the April 15 letter to Ryan, obtained by The Hill, states.
Lawmakers such as Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., said they were in the dark as to why ‘Father Pat’ was eased out.
Boyle, a Catholic, said he did not know that Conroy was ousted until hearing it from media accounts.
The offices of Ryan and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered differing accounts. Ryan spokeswoman Strong said Ryan consulted with Pelosi and said Pelosi could have blocked the chaplain’s firing if she wished.
Pelosi’s office contended that she made it clear that she disagreed with the decision and said she only heard positive comments from lawmakers about Conroy. Pelosi would not comment as she walked to the House floor Thursday afternoon.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is allegedly planning to send a letter to Ryan to request additional information about Conroy leaving, The Hill reported.
One senior Democratic aide told the news site that people thought Conroy was pushed out because ‘Republicans thought he was aligned with Democrats.’
According to a lawmaker, Ryan took issue with a prayer the Conroy did on the House floor in November that appeared critical of the GOP’s tax bill, but this has not been confirmed.
The chaplain is responsible for opening the House each day with a prayer and offering counseling to lawmakers and aides on the House side of the Capitol.
Conroy is a Roman Catholic priest from the Jesuit order.