I am not Catholic, but I can't help admiring the Pope in this one aspect: he is using the fact of his illness as an opportunity to show how to deal with suffering. This man can barely breathe, yet he clings to his life and work with tenacity. Suffering is part of the human condition, and how one chooses to deal with it is a measure of one's character.
If you had known my mother-in-law, you would have understood the concept. Her attitude toward life was positive and active, down to the very end of it. That, my friends, is true fearlessness.