WASHINGTON, D.C., May 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Father Patrick Conroy, a pro-gay Jesuit priest serving as chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives, has rescinded his resignation a week after outgoing Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, requested it.
Last week, Conroy stepped down after Ryan, a Catholic, allegedly told him he would be dismissed unless he left voluntarily. However, in a letter to Ryan dated May 3, Conroy retracted that resignation “upon advice of counsel.”
The letter accuses Ryan of not giving him a reason for his firing, but claims Ryan chief of staff Jonathon Burks “mentioned dismissively something like, 'maybe it's time that we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic,’” as well as mentioning a House prayer and interview some criticized as overly political. Conroy has previously said Ryan told him, “you just got to stay out of politics.”
House Republicans say that Ryan assured them the prayer wasn’t a factor, but rather that some had approached him with concern “that their pastoral needs weren’t being met,” in the words of Rep. Mark Amodei, R-NV.
Ryan “didn't say this as bluntly but the reason for the change is that many of us like Father Conroy but we feel like he didn't do anything,” another unnamed Republican told CNN. “We never see him. We never hear from him. We'd like to have a more active priest/pastor.”
Conroy’s letter claims the discrepancy between the public and private explanations persuaded him to reverse his decision. He says he wants the opportunity to address any alleged failures to meet House personnel’s needs, or to have Ryan be the one to terminate him if he still wishes him gone.
Last week, 148 House members of both parties sent Ryan a letter demanding more information on Conroy’s ouster. Many pro-abortion Catholic Democrats have attacked what Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York calls a “shameful anti-Catholic move motivated by conservative extremists in Congress.”
Regardless of Ryan’s reasoning, Conroy is a controversial figure who has openly opposed Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Calling Catholic teaching on homosexuality a “dead end” based on an outdated understanding of human psychology and sexuality, Conroy suggested in an interview published in 2015 that the church had to provide “hope” to “a gay or lesbian person who desires just as a heterosexual person desires to commit their life to someone in whom, as Catholics, they have found the presence of the love of Christ.”
Conroy served as House chaplain since Ryan’s predecessor, Republican John Boehner, nominated him in 2011. His was responsible for opening each day’s proceedings with a prayer, as well as providing pastoral counseling to lawmakers and their staff.
Ryan has announced he will retire at the end of his current term.