ROME — Benedict XVI, the former head of the Catholic Church, on Wednesday dismissed speculation that he had been under pressure to give up the papacy a year ago.
"There is not the slightest doubt over the validity of my resignation," Benedict said in an open letter in Italy's La Stampa newspaper.
"The only condition for the validity is the full freedom of my decision. Speculation in hindsight over the invalidity of the resignation is simply absurd."
Feb. 11 marked a year since the end of Benedict's pontificate. The pontiff, born Joseph Ratzinger in Germany on April 16 1927, cited his increasingly frail health.
His letter in La Stampa was in response to questions raised by its Vatican correspondent, Andrea Tornielli, over the reasons.
Benedict made his first public appearance since his resignation - alongside his successor Pope Francis - at a ceremony to install new cardinals on the weekend.