Rev. Patrick Conroy
Hats Off to Speaker Paul Ryan for reinstating Rev. Patrick Conroy, whom he had canned in a huff, to his post as House chaplain.
The Republican politico, owned up to his mistake and then fixed it. That's a very rare bird in DC.
Ryan though didn't have a prayer against the eloquent and media savvy Jesuit whose dismissal triggered an uproar from Republicans and Democrats, an extraordinary occasion in super-partisan Washington.
On May 3, the priest sent a letter to Ryan to revoke his resignation, which was effective May 24, on the advice of counsel after learning that the Speaker did not have the "absolute prerogative and authority" to fire up. That's the job of the full House.
The retiring Ryan, who really didn't need this self-inflicted crisis, caved and gave his blessing to the feisty priest.
Elected in 2011, Conroy's record of administering to the spiritual needs of Congress was unblemished.
In a bit of face-saving, the Congressman said he accepted Conroy's letter and decided that he would remain on the job. “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,” he said in a statement.
Ryan, a conservative Catholic, was apparently irked by the chaplain's prayer in the House in which he expressed the wish for a “guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”
Ryan told him: "Padre, you just got to stay out of politics."
But the miffed Ryan failed to realize that Conroy was just living his faith and following his order's "preferential option for the poor."
Conroy is happy to be back in business and that people are reading his prayers.
Keep 'em coming.