I think that the Pope did the right thing- what God - the author of common sense would want him to. In the 50's and prior there was a strain of Catholicity esp in US which was austere to the extreme and said basically go to the end of your strength - suffering is good- "offer it up." Benedict says-- what about the quality of your performance? Pope John was a different story - at the end he coasted on being a great symbol and that was OK- his work was essentially done. But Benedict - how he must have suffered before coming to the conclusion- to what end ? Even Francis of Asissi the extreme ascetic as he was dying apologized to his body for not taking better care of it. Thank you Benedict for saying- suffer bravely if there is a good reason or it's unavoidable not if it's counterproductive and avoidable.