The nun already had a bodyguard

capt c52d840f5cfa49a3ad84cadfd75992c2 aptopix iraq bag106It is hard to know where to start today. But let's start here.

Sister Leonella already had a bodyguard and the gunmen in Mogadishu killed him, too. The short Associated Press report carried in the Chicago Tribune clearly states what we know -- or think we know -- at the moment.

Sister Leonella, 65, was shot in the back four times by pistol-wielding attackers as she left the Austrian-run S.O.S. hospital at lunchtime after finishing nursing school for trainee medics. Her bodyguard was also slain. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which came just hours after a leading Somali cleric condemned the pope's remarks last week on Islam and violence.

The head of security for the Islamic militia that controls much of southern Somalia, Yusuf Mohamed Siad, said one man was arrested and a second was being sought. He said the killing might have stemmed from the uproar over the pope but emphasized that he didn't know for sure.

. . . Several witnesses to Sunday's shooting speculated it was tied to the furor over the pope's discussion last week, which included quoting a 14th Century text that called some of Prophet Muhammad's teachings "evil and inhuman."

"I am sure the killers were angered by the pope's speech in which he attacked our prophet," said Ashe Ahmed Ali, a witness to the shooting.

So we are left with a rather awkward question.

Was this elderly Italian nun murdered (a) because gunmen who were too radical for the sharia law regime of Somalia were angered by Western media reports that said Pope Benedict XVI had insulted Islam? Or was her murder (b) merely an ordinary murder of a Catholic missionary in an Islamic country in which government officials have failed, perhaps due to fear of the consequences, to contain gangs of violent Islamist radicals?

So was this a pope-related murder of a nun or merely an ordinary murder of a nun?

Other questions flow from this one. Are the current media reports linked to pope-related burnings of churches in the Palestinian territories or ordinary burnings of Arab Christian churches?

leonella2And I have another question: Is this undated photo of Sister Leonella in your morning newspaper?

If it is, where is it? Is it on page one? Is it deep inside the newspaper? Was her death given its own story or was she a bullet item -- sorry, but that's a journalistic term -- inside a larger story (see this New York Times example) about the violence around the world?

The Associated Press is now reporting that, as she lay dying, she forgave her attackers -- saying "I forgive" over and over in Italian. Please let us know where this story played -- today or tomorrow -- in your local newspaper.

Meanwhile, the flood of coverage continues.

Over at Open Book, the Catholic writer Amy Welborn has posted thousands of words of commentary and, more importantly, dozens of links to texts, documents, opinions and press reports on the aftermath of the pope's speech. I could not possibly hope to match what you will find here (What has Benedict XVI actually said about Islam?), here (Pope's remarks on Sunday), here (U.K. analysis), here ("Stop telling me I'm violent or I'll kill you") and here (What role did warped media coverage play?).

Also, those Canadian Web Elves have started to collect as many of the important URLs as they can at their "Hate That Pope 1.0" website. Check it out.

I will continue to try to ride the waves, during breaks from my day job. Please use this as an open thread to tell us what you are seeing in MSM reports. What are the television news channels doing?

UPDATE: The Christianity Today weblog is out with an updated list of URLs on pope coverage.

Please respect our Commenting Policy