The children are only aware of the sounds of the voices inside the room; to them, Father Jackson sounds self-satisfied and loud. It sounds as though Aunt Hannah is acting as a sort of mediator, occasionally modifying something the priest says before the children hear their mother's voice in assent. This episode emphasizes the differing degree of faith that the two women feel: Hannah, much older than Mary, has a less passionate and idealistic faith. Hannah is more practical, and is able to change or correct the priest's words to make them more palatable to Mary. The only time all three adults sound peaceful is when they pray; the children are calmed by the rhythm of the words.
Walter Starr is a quiet yet consistent presence throughout the entire story, and in this chapter we learns that he is a kind and generous man. He is far more sensitive than the priest, which we see right away in the fact that Walter consciously avoids sitting in Jay's chair. He tells the children that they are welcome anytime at his house if they want to come listen to the gramophone. Whereas the priest lectures the children about manners, Walter tells them what a wonderful man their father was. His kindness is highlighted by contrast to the priest's callousness.
It is hard to say whether or not Agee himself was deeply religious man, but the novel, by and large, does not seem to endorse religion. Only two of the characters, Mary and Hannah, are religious at all, while the rest of the family is largely opposed to organized religion. The children's innocent questioning of religious explanations shows the inadequacy of religion in explaining death. Then, in this chapter, the figure of Father Jackson tarnishes religion further, making it appear that even nasty people can become priests and representatives of God.