Chilean Miners Give Unfiltered Witness – UPDATED

Esteban Rojas, the 18th miner rescued

Over at Deacon Greg’s place:

We sit here in our living rooms and offices, sipping coffee and checking e-mails, and hour after hour, another one emerges, up a long dark hole, to a shaft of daylight, and there are cheers and tears — and then something more. Something that moves even the most hardened heart. The world is blinking back tears as we see it, again and again. One man, breathing his first fresh air in months, falls to his knees and prays. Another makes the sign of the cross. And in the media-saturated aftermath, one of the miners is interviewed on camera, still wearing his dark glasses, still numbed by it all, and he puts it in terms we can all understand. It sounds so simple — to some, I’m sure, simplistic — but it all makes perfect sense.

“I’ve been near God, but I’ve also been near the devil,” he says through a translator. “God won.”

Yes. That’s it. End of discussion.

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

I wish none of this had to happen. But if it did have to happen–if it needed to be–then I am grateful that it happened in a culturally Catholic country. With the press’ constantly negative, anti-Church drumbeat, the pop-culture’s depictions of Christians as hateful buffoons, and the lingering effects of Rome’s past sins ever before us, it almost seems like the Holy Spirit is using this event and these men to make a dynamic demonstration of the value of faith, the efficacy of grace and prayer and the obvious and less obvious ways by which light can overcome darkness.

What the world is glimpsing in these men who fall to their knees, cross themselves, or testify to God’s presence among them – in these woman holding rosaries to their chests as they wait, is the faith unfiltered and unspinnable; the Body of Christ, blessed, broken and then shared for the life of the world.

What was lost has been found; though the foundations may shake, even still the darkness does not prevail.

Bless the miners and their families, who are giving strong personal witness to the fact that no pit is so deep that Christ is not deeper, still. And that human life is precious, no matter where it is, and no matter how difficult it may be to preserve.

Pat Gohn looks at the Liturgical Calendar and goes, “hmmmmm….”

After reading this astounding nonsense from Chris Matthews, allow me to indulge in an over-the-top eyeroll!

“One of their first requests, after a crucifix…”

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Pingback: Tweets that mention The Anchoress | A First Things Blog --

  • Greg Marquez

    Well…just one little point.

    On spanish television I saw one interview with the brother of a man who was being rescued. The interviewer said something about the trapped brother being a man of strong faith. The brother being interviewed said that he was and made a point of saying that they (i.e. the entire family) were “…evangelicos, cristianos…” So maybe not as Catholic a country as you might imagine.

  • Amy

    How prophetic that this is happening on October 13th, the day of the Miracle of Fatima!!!

  • Judy Anderson

    Thank you for your words of wisdom here. Yes, isn’t this rescue the most wonderful witness to the grace and mercy of God?

    This quote filled my heart with joy: “There are actually 34 of us,” the nineteen-year-old miner wrote in a letter sent up from the mine on Tuesday, “because God has never left us down here.” –Chilean miner, Jimmy Sanchez

  • Kathie Boelkes

    I am so thankful to God for these men being rescued. It’s pure joy to see the men on both knees in prayer and thanksgiving.

  • Theophilus

    Can we doubt the signs? Amy notes that it’s the anniversary of the Miracle at Fatima. One of the miner’s wives enveloped him in an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The miners are talking about their struggle – not of life or death, but of God v. that other guy. God’s Glory being shown through the Spirit of Man!Deo Gratias! Ave Maria!

  • Elaine S.

    The last miner is free… Deo Gratias!

  • John S

    It is refreshing to see a people, upon rescue, not give accolades to Bill Clinton, but rather unabashedly before the world’s cameras drop to their knees and offer prayer.

  • Sandra

    Until I read the reminder, I HAD NOT MADE THE CONNECTION with Fatima, “Duh! Of course!”

    I actually was thinking last night, when the first person to “go down into the unknown darkness, to find the “lost” how like Our Lord “descended to the dead”

    Oh there are no “coincidences” in these events.

    Deo Gratias
    Non nobis domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.

  • kelleyb

    Deo Gratias! God is good!

  • Bender

    I am grateful that it happened in a culturally Catholic country

    And from that faith comes authentic hope.

    All the experts I heard on the TV were saying how the men needed to be coddled, that they would be experiencing traumatic shock coming out of the hole. Instead, all the ones I saw come out were spiritually strong and vibrant.

    If you have Him, and she who is clothed with the sun, you will do fine even stuck in a pit under the earth for 69 days, until you are raised up by that faith.

  • Bender

    Faith and prayer do so much more than “putting a boot to the neck” to the mining company, don’t they?

  • Maureen

    Oct 12, when the rescue started, is the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Senora del Pilar), an apparition of Mary in Zaragoza, Spain. There was a big procession, of course, and expatriate Chileans dressed up like miners and marched in it to ask Mary to keep protecting the trapped people.

    But the amazing thing is that there’s been so little talk outside Chile about the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Candlemas (de la Candelaria) of Copiapo, which the archbishop brought to camp as soon as the miners were found to be alive, and which he left there all this time. It’s got an amazing history; and Copiapo’s valley was actually the site of the first Catholic Mass in Chile ever; but we don’t hear about this.

    But yes, of course there are evangelicals in Chile. Heck, there are still pagans in the Andes.

    [Very interesting, I have never heard of de la candelaria...great comments tonight -admin]

  • newton

    “Seriously. It’s Chile.

    Who cares?”

    You don’t, obviously.

    But right now, thousands of Chileans here in the United States are celebrating this successful rescue, along with all people of good will. That includes all of us in this forum.

    But obviously, you don’t give a rat…

  • Ben Hartley

    Yes… it’s Chile. And I’m in the U.S.A. And I care — a lot.

    Thirty-three men were buried alive for two months. All of them are above ground and safe.

    How could I not care?

    [You should. You're being baited. -admin]

  • newton

    I have a prediction to make, everyone.

    This will end up in the silver screen, with George Clooney on the leading role…

  • Sandra

    Three of the rescue workers are still under ground. It’s not all over yet… Keep praying for these men.

  • newton

    “Three of the rescue workers are still under ground. It’s not all over yet… Keep praying for these men.”

    They’re coming up. People are watching!

  • newton


    Can someone please, Please slap Chris Matthews in the face? He has no shame!

  • Sandra

    The last man is out! Deo Gratias!

  • newton

    “That’s what we need- illegal immigrants celebrating.”

    And what makes YOU think they come here illegally? Theirs is a developed economy, fully at par with Israel, Hong Kong and Singapore.

    Not to mention, Chileans are no “hayseed hicks.” They are mixed-race and considered the best-educated populace in South America, with their Milton Friedman-inspired Social Security system and businesses that are profiting from their partnership with the United States in NAFTA. (Yes, Chile is our trading partner. Check it out the next time you buy your white grapes at the supermarket.)

    A little racism coming from you… or ain’t it?

  • newton

    “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17

    Every single individual who contributed to the successful rescue of these 33 men from the “depths of the earth” brought forth their talents – the gifts given to them from Above, so they could do their jobs with excellence and serve others.

    From the people who designed and made the drills to the people who used them, from those who made the rescue capsules, to those who planned the rescue, to those who gave support to the miners and their families, to the medical providers who are now taking care of them, to the pilots of the UPS airplane that flew that essential piece of equipment in 48 hours…

    To those who provided breakfast, lunch and dinner to those who worked, those who needed help, and those who waited…

    And yes, to those who helped keep everyone’s spirits up, with faith in God and in their countrymen…

    Every single person involved brought a gift from above, didn’t matter from where in the world it came. When it all came together, it was… wonderful. Simply wonderful. Even the president of Chile was impressed and overcome with emotion at the sight before him. (He and his First Lady also provided support.)

    We can call it, perhaps, one of the greatest rescue efforts in history. We can call it a miracle in the Atacama desert. But we can be sure that el 13 de octubre de 2010 will be remembered in Chile and among all people of good will.

    I can assure you that it will be remembered in China, where miners trapped underground are left for dead and never heard from again. Unfortunately, over there, that happens too often.

    It will also be remembered in the Gulf of Mexico, where that spirit of cooperation was sorely missing, especially from the Chief Executive of the United States.

    This day will be remembered in many places here that matter. I can tell you right now that colleges and institutions that deal with mining operations here and abroad will replay that tape for years to come in order to learn how a mining rescue operation is done. No one should doubt those at the Colorado School of Mines have watched this very carefully, for example.

    I will never forget those relatives at that makeshift camp singing Christian songs while waiting for their loved ones to be lifted from the underground.

    I will never forget the faith of the miners, how they responded to seeing the light of day once again, how thankful they were for having been given a “second chance”, of sorts.

    Chile endured an earthquake earlier this year, shortly after it was designated by the IMF a “developed country” and formally entered the community of First World countries. They pulled themselves together then, and they did now. They were all proud of their country and what they could do together, as they should.

    This day was a gift for them, from the God Above, the Father of Lights… who deemed for these men to see the light of day again… and who deemed for all of Chile to see the Light of His Gifts before the world.

    As a Christian, yes, I give a rat about Chile. They showed the best in humanity. They showed the world how it’s done.

    “I believe in my heart that when
    The wounded heart sunk within the depth of God sings
    It rises from the pond alive
    As if new-born.

    I believe in my heart that what I wring from myself
    To tinge life’s canvas
    With red of pallid hue, thus cloaking it
    In luminous garb.”

    - Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), Nobel Prize-winning poet, Chile.

  • newton


    You are a ugly, sick soul.

    El cerdo siempre regresa a su lodo. Que Dios se apiade de ti.

    I’ll be watching you, ugly rat.

  • newton

    Oh, BTW – I’m Puerto Rican.

    I dare YOU to call me an illegal alien. Soy ciudadana norteamericana.

  • Bender

    That the rescue was formally placed under the patronage of St. Lawrence is interesting. St. Lawrence, the martyr, who knew suffering with good spirits (he of the “you can turn me over, I’m done on this side” fame).

    That it was faith and grace that saved these men will be totally lost on the MSM.

    And it is hardly the stuff of yawns and rats’ asses. We should all care when the hand of Divine Providence acts to protect and save our brothers and sisters.

  • KarenT

    Elemental questions for Chris Matthews:

    If Tea Partiers are so consumed by an “every man for himself” philosophy, why are their gatherings so well-organized and why do they leave, say, the Washington Mall spotless?

    If unions, on the other hand, are so dedicated to cooperation and respect for others, why did so many of their buses leave before the OneNation rally was over? And why did they leave all that trash behind?

  • Bender

    Divine Providence doesn’t kill babies in the womb, people do. And God hardly yawns when it happens. He weeps for every one of those children who come to Him far too soon.

    He cares very much. So much so that He sent His own Son to take that killing upon Himself so that, by faith and by grace — the same faith and grace that saved the miners — those innocent babies are also saved in eternal life.

  • dry valleys

    If it weren’t for the human solidarity of these miners forged by their occupation, they wouldn’t have got out. They knew that they were responsible for their mates’ lives & had to entrust their lives to their mates, so they naturally wouldn’t have had much time for Randroid worldviews. Look at how the British miners, almost none of whom had any religious faith, united to defend their own livelihoods in the 80s.

    The argument that the company’s negligence & the lack of oversight by regulators got them there isn’t one that can be sneered away. Bad men put them there & good men got them out. (That is if they even were “bad” at all, or just cogs in a machine that didn’t work).

    I am no more making this a political event than Malkin is. But there can’t be anyone on earth who thinks this is just a random incident, there has to be some back story of whatever kind.

    I could introduce you to ex-miners who now can’t make a decent living because their industry is dead, they wouldn’t be so dismissive of the left-wing perspective. People who are from mining families will generally have a certain outlook, & can be excused if the lifestyle of a banker (for example) seems a false one.

    A lot of miners, lacking a formal education, went to great lengths to teach themselves. There was a set of people called the Ashington Group who went on to become acclaimed artists, despite having so little time for their painting & being exhausted constantly. Very few of them wanted their sons to follow in their footsteps. My granddad was insistent that he wouldn’t have my uncle doing his job (which he didn’t).

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    Anchoress, is it not time for someone to be banned?

  • Lindy

    Look within Last Sphere. You have the world that suits you.

  • Blue Max

    I loved the testaments to faith we witnessed in Chile! Awesome.

    And here comes a different religious spin on this story: Whose God Rescued the Chilean Miners?, found at: link

    [I'm surprised at Gibson, there. I know he's trying to be Puckish, but clearly it is all the same God -admin]

  • dry valleys

    Is this the same Last Sphere that has been commenting for a while, or a troll whose idea of fun it is to use the same name?

    [No, he's the same Last Sphere. He is daring me to ban him, I think. -admin]

  • Maureen

    Moving right along — yes, Chile is pretty much a first world country, barring the back country. (We could say the same, until a generation ago.) Last I heard, it has the highest literacy rate, and the highest number of bookstores per capita, of any country in the world. (That was before the Internet started killing bookstores.)

    We had an exchange student teacher from Chile in my high school Spanish class (can’t remember if it was Spanish II or III). She had studied Shakespeare in her school, in English, and was surprised that we weren’t ready for Lope de Vega in Spanish.

  • Lisa

    Anchoress, thank you for reporting on this story. The story of the miners is a story of Faith, Hope and Charity; and it is a beautiful, beautiful story. To politicize it (both the left and the right are guilty) cheapens all of us. Tragedy happens, how we respond defines us; the miners are witness to that.

    …all things work together for good to those who love God. (Rom 8:28)

  • mark†

    In a way, I think we are all in a similar situation to that of the miners. We live in this fallen world which was in darkness due to our sin. “[But] God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life….And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” Some refuse to be rescued and prefer to remain in the darkness.

  • Amy

    I, too, echo Lisa’s thanks for your reporting this story.

    And Newton, I agree this will be on the silver screen; however, I would hope that the movie would be written and filmed in Spanish, employing the local Chileans, much like “Apocalypto,” which was an amazing movie.

    Blessings to all the people of Chile!

  • Patricia

    It is a pity that liberals (yes, I am talking to you, Last Sphere) come into this forum to distort the image of those that come to this board. They are trying to pass themselves as one of the readers, but they can’t manage it because there is no love, charity or faith in their hearts. Last Sphere cannot comprehend why we cheer for the brave miners of Chile. They can’t comprehend why we celebrate their faith in a world where people like him/her prefer to believe that there is no divine intervention, especially because they prefer to mock our feelings and faith. I will pray for you, LS. May God bless you.

  • Jeff

    An amazing rescue. Next on the menu, rescuing America from Obama and his cohorts.

  • Doc

    Every time Chris Matthews says something really stupid and I happen to read about it, I think of Zell Miller.

    Wow, LS really went off the deep end. Who would assume Chile was an illegal alien source and why would a celebration of 33 men saved mean indifference toward abortion? Pretty weird.

  • newton

    Yeah, LS.

    I have a third of African blood in my veins… not to mention some Moorish and Jewish blood, together with the Spanish and Native Caribbean, yet I’m a “racist”?

    Your words here are condemning you, and you don’t even realize it!

    (BTW. Why is it that you don’t see millions of Chileans dying to come to the States? Because their country is free and prosperous.

    By contrast, Mexico is becoming a certified hellhole, and too many people there are either enduring it, joining the narco-terrorists, or voting with their luggage. I see enough middle-class and professionals moving here to Houston and The Woodlands from Mexico to confirm this.)

    But in this forum, you dared to call Chileans “slave laborers” and “illegals”, insulted a few other people here, and you used a very typical Saul Alinsky tactic – “Make your enemy live by its own rulebook.” – to destroy us here, and insulted the generosity of the esteemed host of this forum with your exuberant jingoism.

    The racism showing here is ALL YOURS AND YOURS ONLY. We are all witnesses to it here.

    (That’s right. I should not have called you a pig an ugly rat. I apologize… to pigs and ugly rats.)

  • newton

    Re: The article that Blue Max referenced.

    “And here comes a different religious spin on this story: Whose God Rescued the Chilean Miners?, found at: link”

    That author neglected to mention one more thing: of all South American countries, Chile also has the highest number of… atheists.

    So, throw the “No God” mix into that equation, and the conversation becomes even more interesting…

  • dry valleys

    Did you hear that BLiar is going to debate religion with Christopher Hitchens? Perhaps this will come up.

  • SallyJune

    Every time I heard about the miners while I was commuting, I said a prayer (as I do every time I hear of such an incident). Every time I heard an update on their rescue, I said a prayer of thanksgiving. Multiply little ol me by — who knows how much? — a whole lot. This incident has been an occasion for much prayer, methinks.

  • Pingback: Steynian 425rd « Free Canuckistan!

  • anniebird

    Let nothing disturb thee,
    let nothing affright thee,
    All things are passing,
    God never changes.

    Patience obtains all things,
    He who has God
    finds he lacks nothing.
    God alone suffices.

    What a great prayer, St. Teresa! It’s a perfect match for the miners, whose faithful witness is so powerful and touching.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I’m awed by the faith shown by the miners, and deeply moved by their rescue.

    Finally, some good news in the world!