A Vatican monsignor has acknowledged that he was never threatened by two journalists to whom he passed confidential documents, but said felt pressured to cooperate with them because he feared a common acquaintance.

Monsignor Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda, a former high-ranking official in the Vatican's finance office, made the concession during cross-examination Tuesday by lawyers of the journalists and two other people on trial with him in the Vatican's controversial leaks case.

Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi wrote blockbuster books last year about Vatican waste, mismanagement and greed that were based, in part, on documents from a papal reform commission that Vallejo directed.

Vatican prosecutors have accused them of "soliciting and exerting pressure" on Vallejo to obtain the documents and then publish them illegally.