From NBC yesterday:
Weigel is undoubtedly right. Pope Benedict, feeling in good conscience that he needed to abdicate the papacy, chose to do so at a time just before Lent, and with plenty of time before Easter for the College of Cardinals to enter its conclave and elect a new Pope. Lent is a time for prayerful reflection, and I am certain that Pope Benedict expected and desired that the Church writ large, meaning believing Catholics around the world, would use this Lent and his abdication to refocus their prayers on the future of the Church. I am certain too that he expects a particularly joyous Holy Week and Easter as Catholics greet a new Pope, who immediately will become the new focal point and driver of the Church's evangelization.