An altar boy is a boy who acts as a lay assistant to a member of the clergy during a religious service.
Formerly, only young men, among whom the Church hoped to recruit for the priesthood, and seminarians, who needed the training, performed this service. Today, also adults and girls are permitted, so the preferred age and gender neutral term is altar server. Another term that was used more in the past than now is acolyte.
Since a cleric is a religious authority figure to his altar boys and acts as a teacher and in loco parentis while training and supervising them, an altar boy who misbehaved could expect some form of punishment from the cleric. Occasionally this may have included spankings. However this M/m cp scenario is much more seldom than the two most common ones, father/son and teacher/student.
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