The much discredited and I thought obsolete “Portsmouth Defence” has reared its ugly head once more. For those not familiar with the Portsmouth Defence, it was used by someone accused of murder as a diminution of responsibility by claiming the person murdered came on to him sexually, even possibly attempting a rape and therefore, the accused totally lost it, didn’t mean to kill him but that unfortunately was the way it turned out. Very sorry, your honour, and a sympathetic judge might reduce the charge of murder to manslaughter and in consequence a reduction in sentence.
The reason why it was called the Portsmouth Defence was because Portsmouth was a naval town and consequently teeming with sailors, many of whom were haveable, seafood was what Tennessee Williams called them, and it was just too easy to bring homosexuality into the defence just as politicians who wish to discredit the opposition bring up the same tired old accusations. I don’t recollect it being used for a long time but it has been mooted once more – this time in South Africa where a lawyer for one of the killers of Eugene Terreblanche has brought it up on his client’s behalf, accusing Terreblanche of attempted sodomy.
Can anyone in their right mind even think such a thing possible? Well, maybe it is possible, anything is possible in this crazy world, but Terreblanche was a far right-wing vicious racist who would never, especially considering his Dutch Reformed Church background, think of committing sodomy, particularly with a black man. Now there are plenty of white men who like sex with black women, there are enough half castes in the world to attest to that, and there are white boys who like having sex with black boys but Eugene Terreblanche? Not in a thousand years. I simply do not believe it.
At the same time members of the Roman Catholic Church struggling to come to grips with the shame of its many predatory priests, the latest claims surfacing in Malta, are squirming like worms on the hook. Because the majority of abuses have been against young boys, Cardinal Bertone, second only to the Pope himself, has stated that paedophilia is not caused by celibacy but is itself an aspect of homosexuality. Like the Portsmouth Defence this is so outdated I wonder he can even bring himself to think it, let alone say it. As the Stonewall Group in the US says, ‘it is an offensive myth.’ The cardinal says he has psychiatric papers to prove it but so far he has failed to produce this evidence. The simple fact of the matter is that boys in Catholic institutions are easier to seduce than girls who do not, for example act as acolytes and who are probably guarded much more carefully by their families or are forever in their families’ company.
Sexual goings on in the Catholic Church are not new; have been going on I should think for centuries. Ronald Firbank wrote a novella titled “The Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli” in which the cardinal, in hot pursuit of a teasing choir boy, expires in front of the high altar. The boy Firbank describes as “having a mouth of cherry cream, never far away.”
No, like the necrophiliac sadist who is into bestiality, the Cardinal it would seem is flogging a dead horse.