House Speaker Paul D. Ryan was roundly mocked on social media amid reports he ousted House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy because of his prayer on tax policy.
Two members of Congress said a prayer Conroy delivered during the debate about the Republican tax overhaul was the reason Ryan forced Conroy to resign.
In an interview with The New York Times, Conroy hinted that was a probable reason, since he was chastised after the prayer.
Watch: The Prayer That Might Have Landed House Chaplain in Hot Water
“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,” Conroy said in his prayer on Nov. 6.
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu criticized Ryan, saying the chaplain was for the “entire House of Representatives, not you personally.”
Dear @SpeakerRyan: The House Chaplain is for the entire House of Representatives, not you personally. So if you fire him, you need to give House Members your reason for doing so. https://t.co/WNh55leDxd— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 27, 2018
Randy Bryce, who is running for the retiring Ryan’s seat, criticized the speaker for the chaplain’s ouster, which got the attention of late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.
BREAKING: Paul Ryan just fired House Chaplain Patrick Conroy after Conroy reminded Congress to think of the poor during the tax debate.This is Paul Ryan's legacy. Party over country. https://t.co/V4DPi2Zx0W — Randy Bryce (@IronStache) April 26, 2018
I honestly thought this was a joke... https://t.co/78qWnYhoUc— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 26, 2018
Which got the attention of a fellow Jesuit priest.
“I lived with Fr. Conroy for three years. I even subbed for him occasionally when he was called away,” said Rev. Robert Ballecer.
Ballecer said that the “church” part of the job is usually just morning prayer and a few events.
“The REAL job is being counselor to people who need it. (Our reps),” he tweeted.
I lived with Fr. Conroy for three years. I even subbed in for him occasionally when he was called away.The "Church" part is usually a few minutes a day. Mostly just the morning prayer and a few special events. The REAL job is being counselor to people who need it. (Our reps) — Rev. Robert R. Ballecer, SJ (@padresj) April 27, 2018
Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Brendan F. Boyle said Ryan’s real problem was not with Conroy but with the Gospel.
Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle) April 27, 2018
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California demanded the speaker tell members why he was ousted.
Our respected @HouseFloor chaplain was fired today by @SpeakerRyan. Lots of news outlets reporting it was because objections that our chaplain expressed in his prayers that we should look out for least among us. Paul Ryan should tell us why.— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) April 27, 2018