In Mulligan's anthropological spirit of noting that the locals "speak frequently of the collector of prepuces," Bloom looks about him in St. Andrew's and reflects on the profoundly strange Christian ritual of communion. This rite imitates the Last Supper in which Jesus, himself freely adapting the Seder tradition, taught his followers about what they were eating, telling them that the bread was his body and the wine was his blood. In Catholic churches a priest blesses unleavened wafers and wine, "transubstantiating" them miraculously into Christ's body and blood. He then places a wafer in the mouth of each worshiper who kneels at the altar. He alone drinks the wine, but Catholic theology assures believers that that's OK: Christ is fully present in both substances. Bloom observes these doings with a mixture of careful observation, blank incomprehension, dim recollection, sympathetic imagination, and pragmatic appreciation.

John Hunt 2022

Priest dipping communion wafer into wine. Source: