- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pope Emeritus Benedict has lost so much weight in the weeks since he left the papal that one archbishop commented he seems to have actually shrunk in size.

The Telegraph reported that Joachim Meisner, the Archbishop of Cologne, said he emerged from a March 18 meeting with the former pope with wide eyes.

“I was shocked at how thin he had become,” he said, in an interview with German Catholic News Agency. “He looked like he had halved in size.”

The cardinal said the observation, while stunning, gave him first-hand insight into the extent of the former pope’s health problems.

“At first, I did not agree with his resignation,” he said, The Telegraph reported. “But when I saw him, my reservations melted away.”

Cardinal Meisner met with Pope Benedict at his summer residence outside Rome, just after he resigned from his Church leadership seat on Feb. 28. Though physically degraded, Pope Benedict’s mind was fully intact, he said.

“Mentally,” he said, in The Telegraph, Pope Benedict was “quite fit, his old self.”