All three leaders were united in expecting the Catholic Church to respond firmly to the scandal, in justice to the victims and in support of them. A statement by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales on the issue can be found here.
I think David Cameron's pitch to those of a more liberal/progressive point of view was very clear. Yes, I welcome the Pope's visit, and, if I were your prime minister, I would want to do everything I can to make it a success. But that doesn't mean I agree with everything the Pope says. I don't agree with what he says about contraception and I don't agree with what he says about homosexuality. No attempt there, then, to win the votes of Catholics.
Nick Clegg mentioned that his wife is a Catholic and his children are being brought up as Catholics, though he himself is not a believer. He described the anguish that many within the Catholic Church feel over the abuse scandals. Like the other two party leaders, Nick Clegg also said that he welcomed the visit.
But I think it was Gordon Brown who put his finger on, and responded to, the force of secularist intent behind attacks on the Pope and his forthcoming visit to the UK:
I welcome the Pope's visit to Britain, and I want him to come to Britain for two reasons. One is the Catholic Church is a great part of our society and we should recognise it as such, and I hope every British citizen wants to see this visit by the Pope take place. And secondly we must break down the barriers of religion that exist in our world ... I support the visit, but I not only support it, I want religious faiths to work more closely together.It was very clear from Gordon Brown's remarks that he wants the Pope to come to Britain, and welcomes his visit. I think such a clear and unambiguous statement that there is a legitimate part in society for the Catholic Church is most welcome in the current climate. Watching the video clip, I sensed a greater degree of conviction in Gordon Brown's welcoming of the visit than was apparent in the responses of the other two party leaders.