I read yesterday that a new chaplain of the US House was sworn in, Father Patrick J. Conroy, SJ.
You read that right: SJ. Not only is he the second Roman Catholic chaplain in the history of the US House, but he’s the first Jesuit.
They may live to regret this, but I’ll be enjoying it.
The Jesuits have historically had numerous disputes and falling outs with both secular and church authorities, most spectaularly during the Spanish colonization of this part of the world. A friend who grew up in Northern Mexico always likes to point out that when she was growing up, Jesuits still weren’t welcome in her diocese. Local folk saint Father Eusebio Kino was a Jesuit, as were the bulk of early missionaries before the order was thrown out of New Spain. Also television commentator John McLaughlin was a Jesuit priest before he was defrocked.
For those keeping score, Conroy succedes fellow Catholic Father Daniel Coughlin. The Senate has had one Catholic chaplain in its history, way back in the 1830′s. All the other chaplains have been drawn from Protestant denominations. There have been no non-Christian chaplains, although several have served as “guest chaplains.”