House chaplain

House Again Rejects Move to Form Select Committee on Chaplain Controversy
Republicans reluctant to back Crowley's resolution on second try

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy has been at the center of a simmering dispute over his resignation — and un-resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whatever bipartisan support Democrats had for probing the circumstances that led Speaker Paul D. Ryan to call for the House chaplain’s resignation appears to be gone now that Patrick J. Conroy has been reinstated to his post. 

The House on Tuesday approved a motion to table a privileged resolution offered by Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York to form a select committee to look into the chaplain controversy. The motion was adopted 223-182.

3 Ways In Which the House Chaplain Controversy May Continue
Lawmakers still want answers about the speaker’s decision to fire Rev. Patrick J. Conroy

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy is staying is position but lawmakers are still questioning why he was asked to leave in the first place. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy is getting to stay in his position, but that doesn’t mean the controversy surrounding Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s initial decision to fire him is going away. 

Several lawmakers are still questioning what influenced the Wisconsin Republican to make his call and how to prevent future speakers from unilaterally seeking to remove the House chaplain. 

Ryan Accepts Conroy Letter Rescinding His Resignation, Allows Him to Remain House Chaplain
Speaker stands by public statement that his original decision was based on inadequate ‘pastoral services’

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his chief of staff Jonathan Burks, right, were involved in the initial decision to request House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy’s resignation. Ryan is now accepting Conroy’s decision to rescind that resignation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is letting House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy remain in his position, accepting the Jesuit priest’s Thursday letter rescinding his resignation that he submitted last month at the speaker’s request. 

“I have accepted Father Conroy’s letter and decided that he will remain in his position as Chaplain of the House,” Ryan said in a statement. “My original decision was made in what I believed to be the best interest of this institution.”

Podcast: Of Politicians and Pastors
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 9

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy blesses a walnut tree during a tree-planting ceremony in memory of Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., on April 18. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan Makes First Public Comments on Chaplain Firing
‘This is not about politics or prayers. It was about pastoral services,’ speaker says

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said his decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy was not about politics or prayers. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Monday made his first public comments on his decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy, repeating the rationale he provided in a closed-door House Republican Conference meeting Friday

“Father Conroy is a good man and I am grateful for his many years of service to the House,” the Wisconsin Republican said at the Weekly Standard’s Midwest Conservative Summit in Milwaukee. “This is not about politics or prayers. It was about pastoral services. And a number of our members felt like the pastoral services were not being adequately served or offered.”

Lawmakers Worried About Religious Freedom After Chaplain Ouster
Democrats raise questions about anti-Catholic sentiments from Republicans

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said there’s only division coming out of Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update 8:45 a.m. | A spokesman for Rep. Mark Walkertold USA Today that the congressman was stepping down from the group searching for a new House chaplain.

Emotions are running high in the House as members grapple with Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy. And religious tensions started to spill into public view last week before lawmakers departed Washington for a one-week recess.

Kaptur Exploring Legislative Reprieve for Ousted House Chaplain
Ohio Democrat said any legislation she proposes would be bipartisan

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy performs a marriage ceremony in 2015 for Alaska Rep. Don Young and Anne Garland Walton in the chapel of the U.S. Capitol. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur does not believe Speaker Paul D. Ryan has authority to remove House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy without a vote of the House. And she’s exploring legislation to prevent his ouster. 

Conroy submitted a letter of resignation April 15 at the speaker’s request that was read on the House floor the following day. Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong confirmed that Ryan sought the Jesuit priest’s resignation but did not provide a reason why.