The speaker found particularly offensive the prayer Conroy offered during the tax cut debate when he prayed that legislators would “guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”
Shortly thereafter, Conroy says, Ryan approached him to say, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”
At various times since, however, Conroy has offered prayers that legislators would act with decency and compassion for their fellow human beings. The ideas espoused are classic New Testament fare, notions like …
- helping “the least among us”
- serving “other people in their need . . . those who work but still struggle to make ends meet”
- being “mindful of those whom they represent who possess little or no power”
- acting to “fulfill the hopes of those who long for peace and security for their children”
Having had enough of all that, Ryan demanded Conroy’s resignation.
“Only in this perverted time could a priest lose his job after committing the sin of crying out for justice for the poor,” writes Dana Milbank, columnist for The Washington Post. “But then, look around: Everywhere are the signs of a rising kleptocracy. The $1.5 billion tax cut did make winners of corporations and the wealthy.”
And Paul Ryan? His dismissal of the chaplain shows, as a prosecutor would say, consciousness of guilt.