Patrick Conroy: House Chaplain Proffers Resignation At Speaker Paul Ryan’s Request, Ignites Outrage In Capitol

Conroy's resignation letter references Paul Ryan.

Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, prays as both teams kneel, before the Congressional baseball game,
Alex Brandon / AP Images

Conroy's resignation letter references Paul Ryan.

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy has proffered his resignation allegedly at the behest of House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Conroy’s resignation letter says he will step down on May 24, and the date on the letter is April 15. Though Conroy has refused to make any additional comments on the matter, sources from both the Democratic and Republican parties are confirming that Chaplain Conroy was pushed out by Ryan.

Chaplain Patrick Conroy Addressed His Resignation To Speaker Paul Ryan

The letter from Conroy was addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, says The Hill.

“As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives.”

Two Republicans and two Democrats have confirmed that Chaplain Patrick Conroy was told to resign or he would be dismissed by Speaker Ryan from the post Conroy has held since 2011. The issue seems to surround the thought that Chaplain Conroy is more aligned with the Democrats in his thinking, and House chaplains (those who offer an opening prayer each day that the House is in session) are supposed to be nonpartisan.

A bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives is seeking answers about exactly why Chaplain Patrick Conroy was asked to resign by Paul Ryan.

Leader Nancy Pelosi Says She Does Not Agree With Paul Ryan’s Decision

On November 6, Chaplain Patrick Conroy offered a prayer that emphasized that lawmakers should keep in mind the income disparity in the United States, and a source is saying that Speaker Ryan didn’t appreciate the tone.

“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.”

A GOP aide says that it was not one particular prayer that rankled Ryan. Nancy Pelosi was told in advance that Chaplain Conroy would be leaving his post at the House of Representatives.

AshLee Strong, a spokesperson for Paul Ryan, said that it was indeed Ryan’s decision to ask for Conroy’s resignation, but that Nancy Pelosi was kept in the loop.

“The speaker told Leader Pelosi that he would not move forward with the decision if she objected and she chose not to.”

A Pelosi spokesperson said that Nancy Pelosi was given advance notice, but added that she did object to Ryan’s decision.

“Leader Pelosi was given advance notice by Speaker Ryan, [but she] also made it clear to Speaker Ryan that she disagreed with this decision.”

Paul Ryan Announced On April 16 That Chaplain Conroy Would Be Leaving

The Chicago Tribune says that House Speaker Paul Ryan made the announcement on April 16 to the House of Representatives that Chaplain Patrick Conroy would be leaving his post.

“[Conroy is] a great source of strength and support to our community. He is deeply admired by members and staff.”

Chaplain Patrick Conroy is just the second Catholic priest to serve as House chaplain; Pelosi, Boehner, and Ryan, the last three speakers of the House, are all Catholic.

A letter is currently being circulated for signatures that demands answers as to why Chaplain Patrick Conroy was asked to resign from his post.

Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia says that answers are necessary.

“Is this a content judgment? We have no answers. The House deserves better than that.”