Ousted House chaplain: Ryan told me to ‘stay out of politics’

Ousted House Chaplain Patrick Conroy said Thursday that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told him to “stay out of politics” after he offered a prayer on the House floor as the chamber was debating tax reform.

“A staffer came down and said, We are upset with this prayer; you are getting too political,” Conroy told The New York Times. “It suggests to me that there are members who have talked to him about being upset with that prayer.”


Conroy said that shortly afterward Ryan told him, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”

The prayer was said in November amid debate about overhauling the tax code.

“May all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle,” Conroy prayed on the House floor. “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.”

Conroy’s comments come hours after he surprised lawmakers by announcing his resignation from his post on Capitol Hill.

Sources in both parties told The Hill that Conroy was pushed out by Ryan, with his own resignation announcement stating that it was done at Ryan’s request.

“As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives,” Conroy wrote in an April 15 letter to Ryan.

Conroy told the Times he was asked to resign, but he was not sure why. 

“I was asked to resign, that is clear,” he told the publication. 

“I certainly wasn’t given anything in writing,” he said. “Catholic members on both sides are furious.”

A senior GOP aide had said earlier Thursday that Conroy’s exit “was not because of any particular prayer.”

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are planning to send a letter to Ryan requesting additional information regarding Conroy’s dismissal; the group is currently circulating the letter among colleagues to collect more signatures.

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