On Thursday, the House of Speaker Paul Ryan restored Patrick J. Conroy as the chaplain of the House of Representatives. The reinstation took place after Conroy wrote a letter to the speaker about his forced resignation. After receiving the letter, Paul said that he is restoring Conroy as the chaplain of the House of Representatives and that it is his responsibility to appoint people who are in the best interest of the House.
Father Patrick was acting as chaplain since 2011. Conroy, a Catholic priest, stated in the letter to the speaker that the chaplain is selected by the members of the House and not the speaker. Therefore, House of Speaker does not have the authority to fire him. While giving an interview, Conroy said that he had decided to hire a lawyer for defending his case. This is so controversial, and it’s not over yet, said the Father. As soon as Paul reversed his decision, Conroy accepted his responsibility in the case and said that we both should talk to each other before making any decision.
He further said that he must have discussed with the speaker on how he can improve his chaplaincy that can work for maximum people, There is no chaplain that does not have its opposer, said Conroy. And in my case, no one told me what the actual situation was. A meeting is expected in coming week between Ryan and Conroy as both of them are looking to resolve the matter.
Peter T. King, a Catholic Republican welcomed the decision of restoring the Father. Father Conroy is a good man as well as a good chaplain, said Peter. And if the speaker wanted to remove him, then this wasn’t the right way to do that. Peter had opposed many decisions of the speaker in the past and this was one of those. He further stated a chaplain deserves better than this and I hope that he would get better in the future.
According to many people, the matter of chaplain’s firing would not fade over quickly and this firing raised some serious questions for some Catholic Republicans. The firing was a political gift for the Democrats, said the officials. In his letter, Conroy said that during his career as a chaplain, he never received any complaint about his ministry. Conroy also criticized Ryan that he never talked to him personally over his firing.
When Conroy was informed by the speaker’s chief of staff Jonathan Burks that he had been dismissed from his duties, he asked Burks whether the dismissal was on purpose and in reply Burks said that time had come to get rid of the chaplain who was not Catholic. On these remarks of Conroy, Ryan responded that he did what he thought was the best for the house. And to make such a huge decision shows my commitment to the House of Senate. Ryan also said that he would not put himself in the fight that the chaplain was demanding.
However, many politicians backed the chaplain as Representative Bill Pascrell Jr said that from the very first day, Conroy had worked with dignity and loyalty. Later a statement was released by the Democrats of New Jersey in which it was stated that the excuses provided by the speaker are nothing but a pretext for covering his harsh decision but in this whole scenario Conroy stood tall and we stand with him.
Father Conroy was removed by Ryan back in April when he asked the father to resign from his seat. But this firing proved expensive for the Speaker as the Catholic members of both the parties asked Ryan to explain his decision. After that a personal meeting held between the Speaker and those Catholic members in which Ryan said his decision of firing Conroy was backed by the complaints he received about Conroy’s pastoral services.
Cornoy thought the other way and according to him his firing took place due to the prayer he delivered back in November when the Congress was debating a tax overhaul in the house. In his letter to the Speaker, Conroy also mentioned the prayer and the interview he gave to The National Journal. In that prayer, Conroy said that all the lawmakers would guarantee that there would be no losers or winners in this tax overhaul. And after the prayer, Ryan said Chaplain to stay away from the politics.