Some popes are loveable; many are not. The late Pope John Paul seemed to be nice and had a progressive side to him. Pope Benedict seemed to be a staunch reactionary who was trying to reverse any positive steps that had taken place. And most of what he did fit into that framework.
So yesterday he totally surprises everyone, except for the chosen few in Vatican circles, by this intent to resign or abdicate. Now this is something that a pope did not do since the 1400's. It just proves that there are surprises now and then.
In his own way, Pope Benedict XVI caused a possible revolution in the Catholic Church: he re-set a precedent that a pope could resign, whether it be because he was physically or otherwise impaired, or he didn't have his heart in the job, or whatever. Now it's not a good idea for positions of awesome influence and responsibility being filled by ancients; but this was a trap that the Catholic Church had been in. Consider this: If they elect only old guys as pope, and a pope is elected for life, then it's a certainty that some part of many papalships will have a guy in it that's too old for the job.
This is a big, first step. What next?
Term limits for popes?
A woman being elected pope?
A vice-pope in addition to a pope?
These are interesting times.