Into the choir

In Lotus Eaters Bloom thinks that his scheme of "getting Molly into the choir," probably at St. Xavier's church near his home, failed because the priest he asked for help saw through him. In Penelope Molly adds that "the jesuits found out he was a freemason"—a secular spiritualist at best, at worst perhaps even a Protestant. But the Jesuits might have had a different reason for rejecting Bloom's request: in 1903 the pope had argued that women should not be allowed to sing in church choirs, and many churches had complied. The pope saw this as a return to the good old days when only males could sing in churches and the high parts were taken by boys or castrated men. But Pius's order forbade castrati as well, leaving boys as the only option.

John Hunt 2022

Helena Carroll (center) as Kate Morkan in John Huston's film The Dead.

Pope Pius X in a photograph of unknown date.

Pope Sixtus V in an oil portrait by an unknown 16th century painter, held in the Vatican Museums in Rome. Source: Wikimedia Commons.