Pontian seems to have been a good pope. Popes in the third century must generally have been pretty good guys, since they made themselves the most prominent target in Rome for any emperor or praetor who wanted to someone to blame for something bad. In the case of Pontian, the emperor Maximus Thrax exiled him to Sardinia, where he would be worked to death in the mines.
Perhaps Pontian's decision to abdicate seems more practical than noble, but it seems to me that I had just been sentenced to the slow, ugly death of slavery in the mines, the disposition of my office would not be something I cared much about. Once again, that's why these guys are saints and I'm a blogger.
Pontian resigned his office before traveling to his cruel fate in Sardinia. Pope Saint Fabian, his successor, brought his remains back to Rome where they were venerated in the catacombs with so many other saints and martyrs.