Perhaps the most excellent reason for the Pope’s stepping down came out in an article that I had just read in the Australian:
Announcing that he would become the first Pope in six centuries to stand down, Benedict said he lacked the physical strength to lead the Church because of his advancing years. His 89-year-old brother, Georg Ratzinger, said the Pope had found it increasingly difficult to walk and had been told not to take transatlantic flights after a visit to Cuba and Mexico last year. The Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said it was after that trip that Benedict decided to stand down.
This was a perfect reason for anyone to step down from the Papacy considering that, at least in modern times, it has become an important role of the Pope to regularly visit abroad and bolster the spirits of Catholics on an international level.
Needless to say, this would be a great reason — and a documented one — that can assuage fears that this could be tied to yet another scandal that would harm the Church and cause more international clamor.