John Cornwell, a recognized Catholic journalist, says that the real reason the pope is resigning is because in doing so the whole Curia–the Vatican bureaucracy that is reportedly rife with financial and sexual corruption–must step down when he does. Thus, the pope is sacrificing himself to clean up the Vatican.
From John Cornwell:
Resignation isn’t in Benedict’s vocabulary. The real reason he has quit is far more spectacular.
It is to save the Catholic Church from ignominy: he has voluntarily delivered himself up as a sacrificial lamb to purge the Church of what he calls ‘The Filth’. And it must have taken courage.
Here is the remarkable thing you are seldom told about a papal death or resignation: every one of the senior office-holders in the Vatican – those at the highest level of its internal bureaucracy, called the Curia – loses his job.