The Holy See has threatened legal action against the Italian author of a new book that contains dozens of leaked private letters and memos to Pope Benedict XVI.
Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican's chief spokesman, said last week's publication of Sua Santità (His Holiness), by investigative journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi, constituted a "criminal act".
Fr Lombardi said the Holy See would "take appropriate steps so that those responsible for the theft answer for their acts before the law".
Nuzzi is one of two Italian journalists who earlier this year publicly revealed a series of secretly obtained Vatican documents that depicted disorder and corruption inside Vatican City State.
The book was out of stock days after hitting Italian bookstores last weekend.