The Holy Father displayed in his home a signed flag from the 33 Chilean miners as a reminder to pray for the trapped men until they were freed. Their rescue, said Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, is a reminder of the value of all human life and the importance of dedication to saving it.
Fr. Federico Lombardi, in his weekly editorial on the Vatican television network CTV, reported that a young Chilean gave the flag to the Pope at a general audience. Benedict XVI subsequently took it home and displayed it as a reminder of the men’s plight and their need for prayer.
On several occasions during their more than two-month entombment, the Holy Father remembered the miners in public comments assuring them of his prayers. As he commended them to God on Oct. 13 rescuers were already extracting them.
The world watched as the 33 miners returned to the surface after 69 days under the earth. Fr. Lombardi noted the wide participation of the global audience in the "worries and hopes" of the miners, their families and all of Chile. It was "beautiful," he said, that through the media the world was able to become involved in the "extraordinary enterprise carried out to save some human lives."
It was the power of the media that allowed the world to participate in this situation, which brought awareness to the value of life, said Fr. Lombardi.
While the world is happy for the "new horizon" of those saved, he added, "in the background remains our memory of the numerous miners who in the different parts of the world have had or will have a different destiny due to misfortunes and unsafe work conditions."
Referring to those who die "forgotten and unappreciated," he asked why the "marvelous commitment of intelligence and passion" used for these 33 couldn't be multiplied to save more.
"Shouldn't the media continue to make the world participate in the commitment for life?" the Vatican media head concluded his editorial.