Pope Benedict XVI arrived home on Monday from his six-day trip to Washington and New York during which he sought to atone for decades of sexual abuse of young people by US priests.
Benedict referred to the scandal repeatedly during his stay, and took the unprecedented and unexpected step of meeting in Washington with victims of predator priests.
He also sought to build bridges with Jews, pained over a controversial Catholic prayer, by becoming the first pope to visit a synagogue on US soil and holding a private meeting with Jewish leaders.
Other highlights of the trip by the leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics included Sunday's solemn visit to the site of the attacks of September 11, 2001, in New York.
At the White House on his 81st birthday last Wednesday, the head of the Roman Catholic Church called for the "war on terror" to be waged using means that respect human dignity -- in other words, excluding torture.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Friday, the pope pressed states to protect their people from "grave and sustained violations of human rights," and criticized "the decisions of a few" for compromising multilateral efforts to resolve the world's problems.