After a firestorm in Congress over his resignation on April 15, Rev. Pat Conroy sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan Thursday rescinding his resignation after conferring with counsel.
In a letter to addressed to Ryan, Conroy writes, "While you never spoke with me in person, nor did you send me any correspondence, on Friday, April 13, 2018 your Chief of Staff, Jonathon Burks, came to me and informed me that you were asking for my letter of resignation. I inquired as to whether or not it was 'for cause,' and Mr. Burks mentioned dismissively something like, 'maybe it's time that we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic.'"
He continued, "At that point, I thought that I had little choice but to resign, as my assumption was that you had the absolute prerogative and authority to end my term as House chaplain."
Last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers petitioned Ryan to reinstate the chaplain, with several of them speculating that Ryan bent the knee to dominionist evangelicals in the House when he requested his resignation.
Republican Rep. Walter Jones sent a letter to Ryan last week complaining about the sudden decision to oust Conroy. "It appears the decision was made to minimize the input of members, and executed surreptitiously to overcome what was likely to be their overwhelming objection. It appears intentionally underhanded, and that is deeply disappointing!"
Ryan had mumbled something about disgruntled House members and pastoral care at a meeting of the Republican caucus, but there appears to be some serious dissent about his firing, and on a bipartisan basis.
In his letter, Rev. Conroy observes that there had never been any complaints about his pastoral care relayed to him. He wrote, "In fact, no such criticism has ever been leveled against me during my tenure as House Chaplain. At the very least, I could have attempted to correct such 'faults.'"
"In retracting my resignation I wish to do just that," he said.
It appears we have a bit of a holy war happening with the Freedom Caucus and everyone else on a number of different fronts. What a bunch of thugs.
For his part, Paul Ryan has agreed to reinstate Rev. Conroy. Washington Post reports:
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) reversed course Thursday and agreed to keep the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy on as House chaplain after an extraordinary showdown that included the priest alleging anti-Catholic bias among Ryan’s staff.
Ryan defended his original decision and continued to question whether Conroy was delivering sufficient “pastoral services” to the entire House. “I intend to sit down with Father Conroy early next week so that we can move forward for the good of the whole House,” Ryan said.
You do that, Speaker Ryan. But it won't change the fact that there are some members of your caucus for whom nothing is sacred -- not even pastoral services.