"Stephen listened in scornful silence. She bows her old head to a voice that speaks to her loudly, her bonesetter, her medicineman: me she slights. To the voice that will shrive and oil for the grave all there is of her but her woman's unclean loins." He thinks scornfully of the old woman’s deference as Mulligan, the medical man, confidently declaims about rotten teeth and rotten guts. In a fanciful reflection probably prompted by Buck's ongoing impersonation of a priest, he thinks of the physician as a kind of modern clergyman, entering the dissecting room to prepare the parishioner's body for holy burial—all except the genitals, in the case of a woman.
Thornton cites an article by Willis E. McNelly, “Liturgical Deviations in Ulysses,” JJQ 2:4 (1965): 291-98, on the Catholic sacrament of extreme unction, in which the priest comforts the dying by anointing with olive oil “the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, the mouth, the hand, the feet, and the loins. Yet the annointing [sic] of the feet may be omitted for any good reason, and the unction of the loins is always to be omitted if the subject is a woman” (297).