March 3, 2011. The President of Chile Sebastián Piñera arrived mid-morning at the Apostolic Palace. Benedict XVI received him at the door of his private library with great pleasure: "Welcome Mr. President". The president invited the Pope to travel to Chile. Benedict XVI said he would consider it but at 84, it can be difficult to travel.
The Pope asked about the miners who were trapped for more than two months at 2000 feet below ground.
"...It's a wonder that these miners were saved."
The two met privately for about 25 minutes and exchanged views on the situation in Latin America, the protection of life and family, development assistance, fighting poverty and respect for human rights.
During the greetings, the Pope received many gifts. Among them was a publication from the Chilean group of Parliamentarians for life.
The president also gave him a silver replica of the incensor from the cathedral of Santiago, Chile. The Pope enjoyed the gift and said that from now on it will have a special place in the Vatican.
"It will now be placed in St. Peter's Cathedral."
The Pope noted that 2010 was a difficult year for Chile after the mining accident and the earthquake that killed 525 people and left 2 million without homes.