U.S. Catholic leaders said Monday they ended a unique four-day meeting with Pope John Paul II under no orders to change teaching or practices and with a belief that the Vatican better understands the American church.

"Clearly, there were some differences of perspective in the room," Archbishop John May of St. Louis told a news conference in Washington, "but these differences have to do with approach and not with doctrine."May, president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, was joined at the news conference by Archbishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville, Ky., and Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco. All three stressed that they saw no immediate changes in the American church's approach to such controversial issues as birth control, divorce and the role of women in the church.

"I don't see any new emphases," Kelly said. "We haven't been spanked."