(Gianluigi Nuzzi, May 11, 2011/RanZag)

An Italian journalist behind a leaks scandal shaking the Roman Catholic Church denies Vatican accusations he is a criminal and says he was only doing his duty to uncover the truth.

Gianluigi Nuzzi’s book, alleging corruption and conspiracies among cardinals in a Vatican struggle for power, has led to a hunt for informants in the Holy See and the arrest of Pope Benedict XVI’s butler, one of the people closest to him.

“My job is to find and publish news, it is my ethical duty. These documents reveal the secrets of the Vatican but there is nothing in the documents that threatens the security of that state,” Gianluigi Nuzzi told Reuters on Wednesday.

He spoke as the pope denounced what he called false media coverage of the scandal, which his aides have branded a brutal, personal attack on the ageing pontiff.

Nuzzi’s book “His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI” contains a trove of private Vatican correspondence, including documents alleging cronyism and corruption in infrastructure contracts with Italian companies, conspiracies among cardinals and clashes over management at the Vatican’s own bank, the IOR.