WASHINGTON - The chaplains of the U.S. House and Senate sometimes seem to be counseling the nation's most hopelessly dysfunctional family, where feuds appear to go on endlessly without resolution.
The burden of ministering to such partisan antagonists can be reflected in the chaplains' daily prayers opening congressional sessions.
The House chaplain, Father Patrick Conroy, thanks God for each new day. But in Tuesday's invocation, he also prayed that God would guide House members, "lest they slide uncharitably toward an inability to listen to one another."
In the Senate, which has been caught up in a bitter dispute over whether to limit filibusters, Chaplain Barry Black prayed that God's light would break through and dispel "the shadows of doubt and division."
The spirit of unity usually lasts another minute, while lawmakers recite the Pledge of Allegiance.