2018-05-02 / Front Page

Congressman Crowley and Father Pat Conroy

Congress Member Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) took to the House Floor on April 27 to call for the creation of a select committee to investigate the reasons why Speaker Ryan essentially fired the House of Representatives Chaplain, Father Pat Conroy. Crowley said, “According to reports, Speaker Ryan demanded Father Conroy resign because of a prayer he led on the House Floor during the debate on the Republican tax bill, where Conroy said that Congress should consider all Americans, including the poor, in the legislation. Conroy, who was selected by former Republican Speaker John Boehner and elected by the entire House, has served as Chaplain for 7 years. This is the first time in the history of the US House of Representatives that a chaplain has been fired.

Crowley stated in the resolution calling for a select committee that “Father Patrick Conroy has served honorably as House Chaplain since May 25, 2011, when he was appointed by Speaker John Boehner in consultation with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi,” and that “Father Conroy had been re-appointed and approved by the House of Representatives on three separate occasions, most recently January 3, 2017.”

Crowley said that Fr. Conroy’s resignation on April 16 “was forced by Paul D. Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Members of the House Republican Conference,” without any notification or adequate explanation, and the decision was by Ryan and was “not reflective of the integrity of the House of Representatives.”

Crowley observed that “on November 6, 2017, during debate on the GOP tax scam, the Chaplain led an opening prayer asking God to bless Congress and for Congress to ‘guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans,’” and that “this prayer reflects the core values of many Americans, in particular people of the Catholic faith, including care and concern for the poor and marginalized,” and that “[O]n April 9, 2018, Pope Francis published his third apostolic exhortation entitled ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ or rejoice and be heard which states that Christians must care for the poor, the sick, and the immigrant.

Crowley continued:

Whereas, under the GOP tax scam law, more than 80% of its benefits flow to the richest 1% and corporate special interests, ignoring the needs for struggling men, women and children,

Whereas this prayer has been reported to be the chief reason for Father Conroy’s forced resignation by this Republican Congress,

Whereas the dismissal of Father Conroy following this prayer shows Republicans’ true refusal to embody the values of faith and charity in their legislative work;

Whereas Father Conroy’s forced resignation is concerning to a number of Members of Congress.

Whereas the House of Representatives would benefit from being guided by a chaplain with a commitment to caring about those most in need;

Whereas the rights of Members of the House of Representatives were undermined when the leader of one party made a unilateral decision to dismiss the Chaplain;

Whereas this forced resignation has compromised the dignity of the House of Representatives by politicizing the office of the House Chaplain

Whereas the circumstances behind his resignation compromised the integrity and dignity of the House.

Resolved that,

There is hereby established a select Committee to investigate the actions and motivations behind the resignation of the House chaplain. 

The select committee shall be comprised of 6 members, of which 3 shall be appointed by the Chair of the Committee on Ethics, and three by the Ranking member of the Committee on Ethics.

The select committee shall investigate the motivations and actions of the Speaker behind the resignation of the chaplain.

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