Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

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jserraglio
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Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by jserraglio » Thu May 03, 2018 6:43 pm

NYT — WASHINGTON — Speaker Paul D. Ryan reinstated the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy as the chaplain of the House of Representatives on Thursday, after the chaplain sent him a letter rescinding his forced resignation and daring the speaker to fire him.
“I have accepted Father Conroy’s letter and decided that he will remain in his position as chaplain of the House,” Mr. Ryan said in a statement. He added, “It is my job as speaker to do what is best for this body, and I know that this body is not well served by a protracted fight over such an important post.”
Father Conroy, a Catholic priest who has been the chaplain since 2011, intimated in a letter to Mr. Ryan on Thursday that the speaker did not have the authority to fire him, noting that the chaplain, who is selected by the speaker, is elected by the members of the House. He suggested his Catholic faith had contributed to his dismissal.
And in an interview, Father Conroy said he had hired a lawyer to press his case. “This is so contentious, and I think it is so historic,” Father Conroy said, adding, “It’s not over.”
After Mr. Ryan reversed course, the chaplain accepted some responsibility in the debacle.
“We both acknowledged that we need to talk about how I can improve my performance so the chaplaincy operates for as many members as possible,” he said. “I don’t know any pastor or any chaplain anywhere that doesn’t have some detractors. That is the human condition. My problem is I was never told that that was the case.”
Father Conroy said he and Mr. Ryan will sit down together on Tuesday when the House is back in session.
At least one Catholic Republican welcomed the news.
“This should never have happened. He’s a good man, he’s a good chaplain and if they want to make a change, this is not the way to do it,” said a surprised Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, who had been critical of the speaker’s decision. “He deserved better and now he’s gotten better.”
Mr. King said that he understood why the chaplain complained: “It’s a cloud over the Jesuit order, it’s a cloud over him if he goes out with this.”
If Mr. Ryan hoped the matter of Father Conroy’s firing would fade over the current spring recess, the speaker was delivered an unexpected slap and caved quickly. The dismissal last month of the chaplain had raised concerns with some Catholic Republican House members, and handed Democrats a political gift. But the issue quieted after Congress left Washington last week.
Father Conroy’s letter was certain to stoke the anger.
“I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House Chaplain,” Father Conroy wrote.
Complaining that Mr. Ryan never spoke to him in person, he also raised his Catholicism. When Mr. Ryan’s chief of staff, Jonathan Burks, informed him that the speaker was asking for his letter of resignation, Father Conroy wrote, “I inquired as to whether or not it was ‘for cause,’ and Mr. Burks mentioned dismissively something like, “Maybe it’s time that we had a chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic.”
Mr. Ryan, who is also Roman Catholic, responded quickly.
“My original decision was made in what I believed to be the best interest of this institution,” he said. “To be clear, that decision was based on my duty to ensure that the House has the kind of pastoral services that it deserves.”
But he did not want the fight that the chaplain was demanding.
And politics were sure to follow.
“From the first day he entered the chamber, Father Conroy has done a superb job tending to his flock with wisdom and kindness,” said Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, in a quickly released statement after the chaplain’s letter came to light. “The feeble excuses offered by Speaker Ryan are merely a pretext to cover for the whims of extremists in his caucus. Father Conroy is standing tall, and I stand with him.”
Mr. Ryan moved quietly in April to remove the chaplain, who submitted his resignation when he was asked to and said his last day would be May 24. The abrupt dismissal caused an immediate uproar in the House, as Catholic lawmakers of both parties demanded an explanation from Mr. Ryan. In a closed-door meeting with Republicans, the speaker said he had received complaints about Father Conroy’s pastoral care, according to several lawmakers who attended.
But in an interview with The New York Times, Father Conroy said he thought that a prayer he delivered in November when Congress was debating a tax overhaul may have been a factor in the speaker’s decision. In his letter to Mr. Ryan, the chaplain said that Mr. Burks, the speaker’s chief of staff, had also mentioned the prayer, as well as an interview Father Conroy had given to The National Journal.
In the prayer, the chaplain urged lawmakers to “guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.” Shortly after, he said in the interview with The Times, he was admonished by Mr. Ryan, who views the tax overhaul as his signature achievement.
“Padre, you just got to stay out of politics,” he recalled the speaker saying.
After his reinstatement, the chaplain chuckled over the controversy: “The upside of the whole story is people are actually reading my prayers.”
But the dismissal itself hints at politics. Father Conroy is a Jesuit, an order of priests viewed by some as more liberal. The hubbub around Father Conroy is all the more contentious in Catholic circles because Mr. Ryan is a Catholic conservative.
Mr. Ryan’s move also exposed long-simmering tensions between Catholics and evangelicals in the House. After Father Conroy was forced out, Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina and a Southern Baptist minister, suggested that the next chaplain should be a family man — a remark that caused upset among Catholics because it implied that Catholic priests, who take a vow of celibacy, would not be eligible.
Mr. Walker later removed himself from a committee looking for a replacement for Father Conroy.
The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and an editor at large of America magazine, said it was “only just” that Father Conroy rescinded his resignation.
“Father Conroy’s firing was unjust, apparently motivated by no little anti-Catholicism, as his new letter indicates,” Father Martin said. “Speaker Ryan should have known that Jesuits have never been pushovers, especially when justice is at stake.”
In his letter to Mr. Ryan, Father Conroy took issue with Mr. Ryan’s apparent assertion that there were complaints about his pastoral care.
“This is not the reason that Mr. Burks gave me when asking for my ‘resignation,’” he wrote. “In fact, no such criticism has ever been leveled at me during my tenure as House chaplain. At the very least, if it were, I could have attempted to correct such ‘faults.’ In retracting my resignation, I wish to do just that.”
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lennygoran
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by lennygoran » Thu May 03, 2018 7:23 pm

This reminds me of when Obama, Gates and the Boston cop sat down over beers to discuss their argument! Regards, Len :lol:

jserraglio
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by jserraglio » Thu May 03, 2018 7:35 pm

They both could raise a glass on the National Day of Prayer

Ryan got his wings clipped by his own party. He apparently exceeded his authority. Suspicion is they wanted to replace the padre with an Evangelical before the midterms.

Why the House needs a chaplain at all is puzzling.
Last edited by jserraglio on Thu May 03, 2018 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lennygoran
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by lennygoran » Thu May 03, 2018 7:40 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 7:35 pm
Ryan got his wings clipped by his own party.
Too bad his own party can't impeach their president-Rudy expects Sessions and Rosenstein to end the Mueller probe-Rudy thinks Jared is disposable but you can't touch Ivanka--it's a sad sad situation. Just think--if Hillary had won we wouldn't have any of this. Regards, Len :( :( :(

jserraglio
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by jserraglio » Thu May 03, 2018 7:52 pm

lennygoran wrote:if Hillary had won we wouldn't have any of this.
But you have to win to govern. Hillary's campaign's coastal strategy (ignoring the Midwest) was fatally flawed. Even hubby Bill tried to tell them that but they blew off as a has-been this gifted political being.

In Cuyahoga County, key to winning Ohio, for example, the Clinton campaign struck me as anemic if not downright lazy. Little or no effort to motivate the base—taking them for granted—many sat it out assuming she would win hands down. Hillary's campaign workers never contacted me in any way, whereas Obama's were all over me in 2008 and 2012, stopping just short of sending a limo.

Hillary was a very good legislator (she could have become a great senator over time) and a tireless secy of state. As a national candidate, though, out of her depth, as David Axelrod has pointed out repeatedly. The warning signs were already there in Bill Clinton's first term when she demonstrated a political tin ear on health care.

lennygoran
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by lennygoran » Fri May 04, 2018 5:12 am

Yes imo to much of what you say but even with that she was ahead but then there was Russia and Comey-possibly the final blow. Now all I can do is lament and hope to win the House. Every day I worry about Trump ending Mueller by taking out Rosenstein and even Sessions-he and his people tell a lie every day-I think I heard his average is 9 a day. Regards, Len :(

jserraglio
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by jserraglio » Fri May 04, 2018 7:48 am

I admire Hillary in lots of ways. She was ahead at some point in the race but didn't know how to confront a demagogue. Well, nobody did.

As for the stalwart Robert Mueller (see Comey on Mueller's incorruptibility), I think that if he concludes Trump betrayed our country to win the election, he will move to indict him while still in office and let the chips fall where they may in the DOJ and the courts. In this hypothetical scenario, the much-abused Rosenstein might just allow such an indictment to go forward.

Furthermore, Rosenstein and Mueller might have game planned for their firing. With Rosenstein and Mueller gone, those two Grand Juries will still be active, along with any number of assistant prosecutors. So, while Trump deals with the ensuing firestorm, maybe the 23 citizens of the Grand Jury investigating Russia could move to have the Donald indicted for treason and OOJ.

Short of treason, a report on Trump and Russia would be sent to Congress to ignore, and indictments of others would be handed down, maybe, as in Watergate, with Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Bottom line. Trump missed his chance. Too late now to kill off the probe by firing R and M. It has metastasized to the point where others would be likely to pick up the cudgel from any that he fired. Failing that, dozens of DOJ and FBI officials could resign like dominos, making Watergate's Saturday Night Massacre look like random roadkill, crippling the Dept. and maybe even forcing Ryan to back down a second time.

lennygoran
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by lennygoran » Fri May 04, 2018 4:37 pm

Thanks-hope it happens as we want-am feeling better after enjoying the breathtaking tulip display at chanticleer in wayne PA-just a superb display at peak! Len from wilmington.

Image

Belle
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by Belle » Sat May 05, 2018 1:01 am

Len,

How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row?

Sure wish I was there to see those tulips!! Lovely.

lennygoran
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by lennygoran » Sat May 05, 2018 6:49 am

Belle wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 1:01 am
Len,

How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row?

Sure wish I was there to see those tulips!! Lovely.

Belle our garden is coming on after a very long winter and early spring-suddenly a lot is happening. As for chanticleer in wayne PA yesterday it was magical-we had never seen their tulip display before even though we've been to that incredible garden a lot of times! Tonight it's opera. Len

Image

Belle
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by Belle » Sat May 05, 2018 4:52 pm

I seem to have derailed this thread! Anyway, we have a similar display at our nation's capital, Canberra, each Spring. At the moment we are enjoying the best season, Autumn, as the nights are cold and the days are warm and there are no insects and no likelihood of sudden temperature spikes!! (Just scroll down the page on this site and click on "load more".)

https://www.australia.com/en/events/art ... riade.html

lennygoran
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Re: Speaker Ryan backs down, reinstates House chaplain

Post by lennygoran » Sat May 05, 2018 9:50 pm

Belle beautiful! Len

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