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Ryan Mocked for Ousting of House Chaplain

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

"We are seeking additional information regarding your decision to request the resignation of Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives", the letter, which was obtained by CNN, states.

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., quoted in the Post, said Ryan told members "that there were concerns expressed to him, the speaker, from a large number of members that their pastoral needs were not being met by Father Conroy".

"Invoking fairness if you're a chaplain is apparently a firing offense", said Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly, among many Democrats pushing for an investigation of the firing.

When asked what reasons Ryan gave in the caucus meeting for why the chaplain was sacked, GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn was at a total loss for words. Last November, Conroy prayed for lawmakers to make sure that "there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans".

Republicans in congress have rejected a Democrat's proposal to investigate the reasons behind Speaker Paul Ryan's firing of the House of Representatives' Chaplain last week.

"Absent transparency, we are also concerned about the implicit damage done to the reputation of the House chaplain personally", the letter continued.

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"Paul Ryan sent his chief of staff down to the chaplain's office and said, 'The speaker wants your resignation or obviously, you'll be dismissed'". "I'm not the Speaker, but I never heard [them]", King told reporters following the meeting. It would be the first forced ouster of a chaplain in the history of the House. NY magazine reported that those House members particularly were outraged by Conroy's invitation to a Muslim to deliver the opening prayer on one occasion.

To add to the controversy, Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) - one of the Republican members tasked with finding Conroy's replacement - is now under fire for remarks some members perceived as anti-Catholic. The previous House chaplain, Father Daniel Coughlin, served from March 2000 to April 2011, retiring in his mid-70s. "So you're eliminating anyone who's a Catholic priest - a Catholic nun - from being the chaplain of the House", Rep. Connolly told The Hill. AshLee Strong, a spokesperson for the speaker, declined to explain the personnel decision, noting only Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her office "were fully read in and did not object".

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from NY, tweeted that Conroy's ouster is a "shameful anti-Catholic move motivated by conservative extremists in Congress".

So, who should we believe, the priest or the politician?

"It is my hope that we will honor Father Conroy's service by pursuing justice and making clear the true motivations of this unjust action", she said in a statement.

JONES: No preacher or priest should feel that someone at the highest level, meaning speaker of the House, is going to determine whether that prayer was right or wrong because this was given as he felt God put in his heart. "Obviously, the Catholic Church and the Republican Party don't always marry up and neither does the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party so I don't think it's supposed to be a litmus test on whether or not it fits neatly into one party or another".

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