Pope Benedict has called on US clergy to seek purification, healing and hope amid the damage caused by a sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
The pontiff addressed about three thousand Catholic clergy Saturday during a Mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
Worshippers included cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons and members of various religious orders.
Pope Benedict assured the clergy of his "spiritual closeness" as they struggle with the challenges presented by sex abuse committed by priests. He urged clergy to cooperate with bishops as they work to resolve the cases.
Pope Benedict then traveled to Saint Joseph Seminary in New York where he blessed a group of disabled children. Later, the pope is scheduled to address thousands of youths and 300 seminarians. The number of clergy in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church has been shrinking for decades.
The pontiff wraps up his six-day visit to the the United States on Sunday. He is scheduled to visit the site of the September 11th terrorist attacks and celebrate an outdoor Mass at Yankee Stadium.