Convicted Catholic Congressman Resigns, Citing Mother Teresa Quote

The pro-life Catholic represented the state of Nebraska since 2005.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. (photo: Courtesy photo / Office of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry)

WASHINGTON — In the wake of a criminal conviction, U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., announced his resignation in a letter to his colleagues on Saturday. 

“Due to the difficulties of my current circumstances, I can no longer effectively serve,” Fortenberry wrote. “I will resign from Congress effective March 31, 2022.”

Fortenberry, who has represented Nebraska since 2005, made the announcement after he was convicted on March 24 of three felony counts of lying to federal officials during their investigation of illegal donations to his campaign from a wealthy non-U.S. citizen. At the time, Fortenberry said he would appeal the conviction.

In his resignation letter, Fortenberry, a Catholic, cited a poem inscribed on the walls of St. Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, India. He stressed that he reads it “when things are difficult.”

“People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Forgive them anyway,” the poem begins, before concluding, “You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.”

His resignation comes after leaders of both political parties called for him to step down, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Fortenberry was found guilty on two counts of making false statements and one count of “scheming to falsify and conceal material facts” in a federal court in Los Angeles. The politician could face up to five years in prison for each felony count. His sentencing is scheduled for June 28.

During his time as a congressman, Fortenberry spoke out on pro-life issues and on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.