CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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United States politician backs down from dismissing chaplain

WASHINGTON (SE):  Jesuit Father Patrick Conroy, was reinstated as chaplain for the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States of America (US) by the person who allegedly pushed him to resign in mid-April, House Speaker, Paul Ryan (Sunday Examiner, May 6). 
 
In a letter to Ryan on May 3, Father Conroy rescinded his resignation “upon advice of counsel,” CNS reported.
 
The chaplain noted, “I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House Chaplain.” 
 
CNN reported that Father Conroy pointed out, “While you never spoke with me in person, nor did you send me any correspondence, (Ryan’s chief of staff, Jonathan Burks) came to me (on April 13) and informed me that you were asking for my letter of resignation.” He continued, “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.’ 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.”
 
Ryan said his original decision was made with what he thought was in the best interest of the House, CNS reported.
 
House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, welcomed the decision to let Conroy remain as chaplain, the Washington Post reported.
 
However she said, “Many distressing questions must still be answered about the motivations behind Father Conroy’s unwarranted and unjust dismissal.”

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