May 3 (UPI) — The Rev. Patrick Conroy rescinded his resignation as House chaplain Thursday after being dismissed by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Conroy informed Ryan of his decision to remain as chaplain at least through the end of the year in a two-page letter, adding he believes he was pressured to resign on April 14 without cause, The Washington Post reported.
“I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House chaplain,” Conroy wrote.
Conroy added that while Ryan hadn’t directly spoken with him or sent correspondence, the speaker’s Chief of Staff Jonathan Burks informed Conroy that Ryan was asking for his letter of resignation.
In his letter Conroy said when he asked Burks if Ryan’s request was for cause Burks responded dismissively by suggesting “maybe it’s time that we had a Chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic.”
On Friday, Ryan said he dismissed Conroy after complaints from other lawmakers who felt their “pastoral needs” were not being met.
He said the lawmakers requested a chaplain who offers more “spiritual counseling” and that it was simply “time for a change.”
Ryan denied the idea that his dismissal of Conroy was due to politics after Conroy asked lawmakers to be “mindful” of economic disparities on Nov. 6 amid House Republicans’ sweeping tax reform efforts.
Ryan appointed GOP Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia, Mark Walker of North Carolina and Tim Walberg of Michigan to find the next House chaplain.