House chaplain rescinds resignation, Ryan agrees to let him stay

In scathing letter, House Chaplain rescinds resignation after feud with Paul Ryan

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Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain who was controversially ousted from his position by House Speaker Paul Ryan has rescinded his resignation, CBS News' Ed O'Keefe and Rebecca Kaplan report.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, who resigned April 15 and implied that Ryan had asked him to do so, submitted another letter on Thursday listing the reasons he has decided not to resign after all, including that he was never disciplined or reprimanded in his seven-year post as chaplain. Still, his retreat in the face of an un-resignation by House Chaplain Patrick Conroy, SJ, must have been humiliating to him - not as bad as, say, if Ayn Rand had arisen from the dead to call him a "collectivist", but close.

"In fact, no such criticism has ever been leveled against me during my tenure as House Chaplain". He said that Burks told him, "maybe it's time we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic", and commented on his prayer in November that was perceived as critical of the Republicans' tax bill.

Conroy is rescinding his decision to resign as the chaplain of the House of Representatives.

House Republicans say that Ryan assured them the prayer wasn't a factor, but rather that some had approached him with concern "that their pastoral needs weren't being met", in the words of Rep. Mark Amodei, R-NV.

In a statement Thursday, Ryan says "this body is not well served by a protracted fight over such an important post".

"Father Conroy's service as House Chaplain has been a blessing to Members on both sides of the aisle", she said in a statement. "To be clear, that decision was based on my duty to ensure that the House has the kind of pastoral services that it deserves", the speaker said.

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Lawmakers, including some Republicans, had urged Ryan to keep Conroy on as the House chaplain.

"You may wish to outright "fire" me", Conroy added, "if you have the authority to do so, but should you wish to terminate my services, it will be without my offer of resignation, as you requested". Rumors flew as to what would have caused Ryan to ask Conroy, whom lawmakers described as a "fairly popular figure", to step down.

This decision avoids what would have been an unprecedented showdown between the House chaplain and speaker Congress elects the position every two years although it has traditionally been uncontested. "In retracting my resignation I wish to do just that".

"However, many distressing questions must still be answered about the motivations behind Father Conroy's unwarranted and unjust dismissal", Pelosi said.

Conroy disputed this allegation, and said that he would have made an effort to adjust his ministry in order to better serve the House.

Conroy wrote that he initially gave into pressure to resign, believing that Ryan had the power to fire him but believes now that Ryan pressured him into resigning for lack of cause.

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