... a minor official in medieval and some Protestant churches. His badge of office was a good, long stick used to smack people misbehaving in church. Not only could he take care of the clappers, but also unrepentant cellphone users.This reminds me of a story from my elder sister's parish one Christmas Midnight Mass. Some local Jack-the-Lad had a bit too much lemonade and thought he would come along and disrupt the Catholic Mass. He encountered two of my nephews in the porch:
Austin (medical student) who was then in full training as a boxer. (He had to give it up when the consultant told him he couldn't do ward rounds with a black eye.)
Declan - a short, unassuming, mild-mannered sort of chap who happened to be in the British National Judo Squad, gave it up to study but was persuaded to join the team at Oxford, earning himself a blue. (He now teaches philosophy in Ohio.)
Awww! How was the poor guy to know? (They did help him back up onto his feet.) Shouldn't they have had had a sash or a badge or something. What about the Ministry of "Come back tomorrow when you've slept it off, Son"?