Paul Ryan: Patrick Conroy will remain as House chaplain

May 3 (UPI) — House Speaker Paul Ryan accepted Rev. Patrick Conroy’s decision to rescind his resignation as House chaplain Thursday.

Ryan said he stood by his reasoning for the decision to dismiss Conroy last month and planned to meet with the chaplain next week.

“It is my job as speaker to do what is best for the body, and I know that this body is not well-served by a protracted fight over such an important post. 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.

Conroy informed Ryan of his decision to remain as chaplain at least through the end of the year in a two-page letter earlier Thursday, adding he believes he was pressured to resign on April 13 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.

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