The embattled chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives is seeking to withdraw his resignation in a caustic letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that accuses a top Ryan staff aide of telling him 'something like "maybe it's time that we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic"'.
Ryan asked Conroy to resign in mid-April - a move that has sparked a backlash in both parties and across religious lines among lawmakers who felt blindsided by the House speaker's decision and felt Conroy was treated unfairly.
"I do not wish to have my "resignation" be construed as a "constructive termination, '" Conroy wrote". Ryan says, once again, that his concern in asking for the resignation was only about "pastoral services" not politics.
In accepting his request to stay, Ryan said that he made his original decision to push out Conroy on "what I believed to be the best interest of this institution". Former chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) stepped down from the selection committee conducting the search for a new chaplain, after comments he made were dubbed "anti-Catholic". "I strongly disagree with Father Conroy's recollection of our conversation", Burks said.
Ryan said he plans to meet with Conroy next week. He alleged that Ryan's chief of staff cited his religion, Catholicism, as one reason Ryan wanted him to resign. Conroy also invited a Muslim cleric previous year to give the opening prayer, a move that Democrats say may have upset GOP conservatives.
Ryan said, "I have accepted Father Conroy's letter and decided that he will remain in his position as Chaplain of the House".
"At this time, and upon advice of counsel, I herby retract and rescind said resignation for the reasons that follow", Conroy wrote in the letter dated Thursday and addressed to Ryan.
In the first version, he wrote that Ryan, who is Catholic, should consult with his chief of staff on a resignation date, but the second version stated his last day would be May 24.
When Conroy asked why, "Mr. Burks mentioned dismissively something like 'maybe it's time that we had a chaplain that wasn't a Catholic, '" Conroy states in the letter.
Conroy has served as the chamber's chaplain since 2011.
Sources claimed that Speaker Ryan didn't appreciate the tone and so the reverend allegedly was given the option of resigning or being dismissed by Ryan.
The circumstances around Ryan's decision to oust Conroy have raised questions among members of Congress. "May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans". "But should you wish to terminate my services, it will be without my offer of resignation, as you requested".
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