In 2011, Father Patrick Conroy, a Jesuit priest affectionately known as Father Pat on Capitol Hill, became the chaplain of the House of Representatives. But Father Pat’s time in service to Congress will soon come to an end thanks, according to the priest’s resignation letter, to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The move by the Wisconsin Republican House leader, which has come to light after NBC obtained a copy of the letter, has angered House members on both sides of the aisle.
In his letter, dated April 15 and addressed to Ryan, the priest states:
As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives. The position is one which I did not seek nor strive to assume, but I have seen it as a blessing and I have considered it one of the great privileges of my life.”
The reason Ryan requested Conroy’s resignation is apparently related to a prayer he gave in late 2017 at the height of the tax debate. Ryan, who
Before the House voted on the GOP tax plan last November, Father Pat asked for the poor to be foremost in the minds of the House members.
As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, 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. 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.”
And the Speaker’s office made it quite clear to Conroy that his prayer was not welcome. According to the New York Times, “a staffer came down and said, We are upset with this prayer, you are getting too political.”
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The final straw.