Speaker Paul Ryan gives US House chaplain his job back

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"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.

Nevertheless, the outgoing speaker maintained that "this body is not well served by a protracted fight over such an important post".

The chaplain is elected by the full House and Democrats said Ryan does not have the power to fire him. Ryan said he and Conroy would meet this week, though it's not when that is scheduled to happen.

Ryan, who is Catholic, has since accepting Conroy's decision to rescind his resignation, which means Conroy will continue to serve as the House of Representatives chaplain. Conroy also invited a Muslim cleric previous year to give the opening prayer, a move that Democrats say may have upset GOP conservatives.

However, the Catholic organization remains unhappy about Ryan's handling of the incident.

But that wasn't enough for Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who told reporters after the meeting, "I'm not aware of any discontent or any criticism and to be the first House Chaplain removed in the history of Congress in the middle of the term raises serious questions and I think we deserve more of an explanation and why was there political pressure".

Conroy's resignation sparked an uproar last week when it became known that he was asked to quit. "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 who wasn't a Catholic".

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Conroy announced he would stay after Ryan's decision sparked backlash from members on both sides of the aisle, with Democrats pushing for the formation of a special committee to investigate his motives. "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".

But the dismissal itself hints at politics. If the Republicans retain control of the House in November, which wouldn't surprise me, they can replace Father Conroy with a properly partisan Protestant, or a Republican trophy priest, either one of whom will place a faith-based imprimatur on everything they do.

Conroy, a Jesuit priest, has been chaplain for the previous 11 years. "However, many distressing questions must still be answered about the motivations behind Father Conroy's unwarranted and unjust dismissal".

In his letter from this week, Conroy noted the apparent lack of consultation with other House members before his attempted ouster.

Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, forced Reverend Pat Conroy to tender his resignation last month, sparking a firestorm.

Conroy further claimed that Ryan's chief of staff, Jonathan Burks made anti-Catholic remarks to him when he initially raised concern about why he was being asked to resign. Whatever the reason, though, the fact that Ryan has backed down is a strong indication that he was getting significant negative blowback from other members of the Republican Caucus over Controy's dismissal.

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