Apparently realizing that his critics were not exactly standing on high or solid ground, Conroy has now sent a strongly worded letter (on official House stationary) to Ryan rescinding his resignation, confirming that Ryan's staff wanted him gone for previously undiscussed shortcomings in his pastoral abilities (similar to those expressed publicly by Walker), and making it clear he'd respond to specific constructive advice but nothing else.
The Jesuit priest said that he had never been disciplined, and had received zero complaints about his ministry during his almost seven years as House chaplain, but felt as though he was being forced into resigning by Ryan. "My original decision was made in what I believed to be in the best interest of this institution". The Jesuit priest noted that it was Ryan's chief of staff, Jonathan Burks, who informed him that the speaker was asking for his resignation.
"I inquired as to whether or not it was 'for cause, ' and Mr. Burks mentioned dismissively something like 'maybe it's time we had a Chaplain that wasn't Catholic.' He also mentioned my November prayer and interview with the National Journal Daily", Conroy wrote in his letter.
In a statement Thursday, Burks disputed Conroy's account. "I am disappointed by the misunderstanding, but wish him the best as he continues to serve the House".
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The representative did not comment on his plans for responding to the court order next week. Carter is a private citizen who should not be involved in this matter", the statement said.
In a statement, Ryan said he has accepted the letter and that Conroy will remain as Chaplain.
Regardless of Ryan's reasoning, Conroy is a controversial figure who has openly opposed Catholic teaching on homosexuality. The Washington Post also reported that Ryan told House Republicans on Friday that he had gotten complaints about Conroy's "pastoral style", according to the paper.
"Not only was I dismayed that Father Conroy was apparently asked to resign without explanation, I was troubled by the manner in which it was done". ". You may wish to outright "fire" me, if you have the authority to do so, but should you wish to terminate my services, it will be without my offer of resignation".
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, forced the Rev.
Ryan "didn't say this as bluntly but the reason for the change is that many of us like Father Conroy but we feel like he didn't do anything", another unnamed Republican told CNN. Ryan told lawmakers last week that Conroy was pushed out because he was not meeting the "pastoral needs" of members.