Democrats are expressing outrage over House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to oust the Rev. Patrick Conroy as the chaplain of the House of Representatives, Fox News informed.
“I have expressed my forceful disagreement with this decision to the speaker,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Friday. “It is truly sad that he made this decision, and it is especially bewildering that he did so only a matter of months before the end of his term.”
Ryan has told fellow Republicans that he fired the House chaplain, a Roman Catholic priest from the Jesuit order, after complaints from members that he wasn’t doing a very good job — not because of pressure over Conroy’s political leanings.
“He had a number of complaints that the chaplain was not meeting the pastoral needs of the members in general,” said Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.
Ryan’s office won’t say why Conroy was asked to resign — the first forced ouster in the history of the House.
Conroy has served as the chamber’s chaplain since 2011 but offered his resignation last week at Ryan’s urging. He will leave his House service next month.
Democrats are pushing back against the argument there were complaints.
“During Father Conroy’s entire service, I’ve never received a complaint from our Members about him pastoring to the needs of the House,” Pelosi said.
Democrats — and Conroy himself — have cited a prayer he offered last fall that called for fairness as the House debated tax cuts as a reason for GOP discontent with his performance.
Last November, Conroy prayed for lawmakers to make sure that “there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”
Conroy told The New York Times that shortly afterwards, Ryan warned him to “stay out of politics.”