Chile Miners' Flag Hung in Pontiff's Apartment

Spokesman Reflects on Commitment to Human Life

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2010 ( Benedict XVI hung in his apartment the flag signed by the 33 trapped Chilean miners, praying daily for their rescue, according to a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, spoke of the miners’ plight and the Pope’s prayers during the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s «Octava Dies.»

The miners were all pulled to safety last Wednesday, after being trapped below ground since Aug. 5.

On Oct. 7, the Pope was presented with a flag that had been signed by the 33.

“Some days ago at the conclusion of an audience a young Chilean gave the Pope a flag of Chile that bore the signatures of the 33 miners,» Father Lombardi recounted. «The Pope hung it in his apartment, remembering those men in prayer every day until the moment that they were finally liberated.»

The spokesman added, «It is said that more than a billion people fervently followed the phases of their liberation, after having participated for two months in the worries and hopes of the miners, their families, the rescue workers and all of Chile.»

“The rescue is thus a great feast,” the Jesuit priest declared. “It is beautiful that all over the world there was such intense interest in the extraordinary effort undertaken to save some human lives. There came to light the value of life, and the power of the media permitted humanity to participate in the efforts on its behalf.”

“While we rejoice over the new horizon of life of the 33, in the background there remains our awareness of the countless miners in different parts of the world who have had and will have a different destiny because of disgraceful and insecure work conditions,» Father Lombardi reflected.

And he called to mind the many people who «die forgotten or unappreciated in their value.»

«Will the marvelous commitment of intelligence and passion that went toward saving the 33 lives not be multiplied to save so many others?” he asked. “Shouldn’t the media continue to help the world participate in the commitment to life?”

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