The Vatican issued a statement Saturday calling a new leak of its internal documents "a criminal act" that must be prosecuted. The statement called for prosecution not only of the leaker but also "those who received stolen property" - that is, evidently, Gianluigi Nuzzi, an Italian journalist who came up with a trove of papal records for his new book, Sua Santita, or His Holiness.The Vatican said it will seek "international cooperation," which I assume means that it will press Italian authorities to prosecute even the journalist. The publication of the leaked documents is not a "journalistic initiative," the Vatican insists, but a crime.I don't know what protections Italian journalists have; Nuzzi seems to be reveling in the attention, as any author might.One imagines that only a fairly small circle of people would have access to the private papers of Pope Benedict XVI. Despite what the Holy See says about the vile nature of these leaks, I continue to suspect that the leaker is taking the only available avenue to reform a bureaucracy that treats corruption too casually. Who is the leaker? Someone with a conscience, is my guess.
Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).