...is not altogether without precedent. Apart from the case of Celestine VI, Pius XII wrote and signed, but left undated, an act of resignation, to be activated in case the Nazis kidnapped him. That is to say that it is not completely out of the order of things. And the fact that people live longer now than they ever did before means that sooner or later something like this would have had to be considered. The job has got more rather than less demanding; from what I understand, one thing that helped Pope Benedict make up his mind was that his doctors had recommended no more intercontinental journeys, which are an essential part of the modern Papacy. I am still unhappy about it, because I love and admire the man so much, but I don't know what it is like to be in his shoes. And considering the storms that are about to engulf the Church from many sides (I refer to certain curious legal enactments passed in various countries including Britain), he may have felt that he could no longer summon the strength to fight and lead the people of God.