Charisma Caucus

Did Paul Ryan Just Fire the House Chaplain?

House Speaker Paul Ryan
House Speaker Paul Ryan (Reuters)

House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed House Chaplain Patrick Conroy, citing member claims that their "pastoral needs" were not being met.

Conroy initially announced his intention to step down 10 days ago, but this week, House members began to question Conroy's motivation behind the resignation.

In a letter obtained by CNN, the Catholic Conroy's resignation letter states that Ryan asked him to resign.

The Hill reports:

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A number of lawmakers had approached Ryan and told him they needed someone in the chaplain's role who could offer more "spiritual counseling," according to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who attended the meeting.

Ryan agreed, he told the members.

Rep. Fred Upton. R-Mich., also told The Hill that Ryan insisted during the private meeting that the dismissal was not done for any politician reasons, but because it was just "time for a change."

Swift backlash followed the resignation as House members debated if Ryan had the authority to dismiss Conroy.

"We are seeking additional information regarding your decision to request the resignation of Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives," the letter, which was obtained by CNN, states. "The sensitive nature of this situation requires a description of the process followed to arrive at the decision and a justification for that decision."

Religion reporter Jack Jenkins live tweeted the House discussion following Conroy's ousting:

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., has been charged with finding Conroy's replacement.

"I'm looking for somebody who has a little age, that has adult children, that kind of can connect with the bulk of the body here, Republicans and Democrats who are going through, back home the wife, the family," Walker says.

Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.

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