Ousted House chaplain rescinds his resignation

Father Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain who was controversially ousted from his position by House Speaker Paul Ryan has rescinded his resignation, CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe and Rebecca Kaplan report.

Conroy’s impending departure was controversial, and came with little explanation. But in a letter dated Thursday, Conroy told Ryan he is formally rescinding his resignation. 

In the letter, Conroy claimed Ryan’s chief of staff, Jonathan Burks, met with him on April 13 and asked for a letter of resignation. When Conroy asked if he was being fired for cause, Conroy says Burks “mentioned dismissively” that “maybe it’s time that we had a chaplain that wasn’t Catholic.” Conroy claimed Burks also mentioned a prayer the chaplain offered in November during the tax reform debate that was viewed by some as critical of the GOP platform. 

Conroy is a Roman Catholic priest from the Jesuit order. Ryan himself is Catholic. 

“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. “It is my desire to continue to serve as House Chaplain in this 115th United States Congress to the end of my two-year term, and beyond, unless my services are officially terminated (however that is properly done) or I am not re-elected to the position by the membership of the House.”  

Conroy’s comments seem to contradict Ryan’s, who said Conroy’s departure had nothing to do with politics.

“Father Conroy is a good man and I am grateful for his many years of service to the House,” the Wisconsin Republican said in Milwaukee last month. “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, including some Republicans, had urged Ryan to keep Conroy on as the House chaplain. 

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

—CBS News’ Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

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