Pat Keegan - 1st lay person to address V2

Former IYCW President Pat Keegan, later the international president of the World Movement of Christian Workers, was the first lay person to address Vatican II.

Indeed, he may have been the first lay person to address any ecumenical council in the history of the Church.

Below is the speech that Keegan gave on that historic occasion:

Ian Linden writes in Global Catholicism: diversity and change since Vatican II that Pope Paul VI insisted on vetting Pat's speech before delivery and that it include reference to the "submission of the laity to the hierarchy". However, Pat's speech does not in fact make any reference to submission to the hierarchy.

What's more in his first sentence, he refers to the being "very conscious of our responsibility" to voice the sentiments of the laity which is a clear echo of the definition of democracy of Marc Sangner's Sillon movement as 'the social system that tends to maximise the consciousness and responsibility of everyone". Now the Sillon was closed down in 1910 as a result of a letter by Pope Pius X to the French bishops complaining that the Sillon was "escaping hierarchical control".

By quoting the Sillon in the first line of his speech, Pat seems to be very subtly telling the hierarchy what he really thinks!

1964 - Patrick Keegan - Address to Vatican II