This morning, about the only thing popping up on Facebook and on news sites was the shocking news that Pope Benedict has opted to step down. It is the first time in 600 years that a Pope will not be dying in office.

I am not Catholic, but I have great respect for all religions thanks to my Priest Dad teaching me to do so. I grew up watching Pope John Paul II and remember his "death watch" vividly. So, when I read of Pope Benedict's resignation I was pleasantly surprised.

The Papacy is a religious but very political position. He tends to millions in his flock and also must insert himself into all manners of World issues. It isn't fun I am sure. And when you hit age 85 and are declining in health, the smart thing to do is say thank you and enjoy your remaining years relaxing.

Pope John Paul II's declining health and subsequent death was a circus and, at times because of that, embarrassing. It was weeks of "play by play" and it shouldn't have been. I hope future Popes take the road Benedict is.

Whether you like the Pope or not, he is an iconic World figure and always will be.

God Speed Pope Benedict XVI.