Ryan Mocked for Ousting of House Chaplain

Comes amid reports Conroy was ousted because of prayer over tax overhaul debate

Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, blesses the walnut tree planted earlier this month in memory of New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.”

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.

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.

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Brendan F. Boyle said Ryan’s real problem was not with Conroy but with the Gospel.

Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California demanded the speaker tell members why he was ousted.

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