I haven't read the stories yet, but headlines were depressingly familiar: "Abuse survivors give their views on the resignation." I wonder if the writer justified his maliciousness or was unaware of it.
I expect lots of speculation on why he's resigning--and I'll join that crowd and guess that he was feeling too tired and fuzzy mentally, and didn't believe he could be a good pastor or administrator if he wasn't thinking straight. That's what would make me give up if I were in his shoes.
John Paul II was noted for his pastoral skills, but apparently was a lousy administrator. Benedict XVI is noted for his scholarship and insight, but apparently is a lousy administrator. Are you seeing a pattern here? Pastor is not the same as Teacher is not the same as Administrator, and the offices are all supposed to be filled by the same man: the same problem so many Protestant churches have, but with a "congregation" and bureaucracy several orders of magnitude larger. Perhaps a different approach might be in order?
I don't believe Dante was right: popes ought to be able to retire. I wish him all the best.
I've been poking around the New Testament and early church history a bit, and haven't some up with any really solid evidence that Peter was supposed to be numero uno in the church. Jesus re-commissioned him as pastor, but pastoring who? He isn't the head of the church in Acts, and the "this rock" was early on taken to mean the gospel Peter announced. The most convincing argument so far is my own (I think): all the gospels agree that Peter denied Christ. Repenting from that would be good training for being the chief. A ruler, by virtue of the "secular" obligations and distractions of office, will often find himself bogging down and denying the spirit he serves. Peter in the courtyard is the archetype of much of church leadership.
And no, I'm not trying to be cynical: power is dangerous, Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy is unavoidable and humiliation can be good training.
Be that as it may, there's a shortage of proof that Peter's successor was supposed to be numero uno after him.