Devil's advocate

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The Advocatus Diaboli (Latin for Devil's Advocate) is a former official position within the Catholic Church, the Promoter of the Faith: one who "argued against the canonization (sainthood) of a candidate in order to uncover any character flaws or misrepresentation of the evidence favoring canonization". [1]

Ecclesiastical Latin, also called Church Latin, Liturgical Latin or Italian Latin, is a form of Latin initially developed to discuss Christian thought and later used as a lingua franca by the Medieval and Early Modern upper class of Europe. It includes words from Vulgar Latin and Classical Latin re-purposed with Christian meaning. It is less stylized and rigid in form than Classical Latin, sharing vocabulary, forms, and syntax, while at the same time incorporating informal elements which had always been with the language but which were excluded by the literary authors of classical Latin. Its pronunciation is based on Italian.

Canonization Act by which churches declare that a person who has died was a saint

Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the "canon", or list, of recognized saints. Originally, a person was recognized as a saint without any formal process. Later, different processes were developed, such as those used today in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.

Saint one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity, and virtue

A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

In common parlance, the phrase playing devil's advocate describes a situation where someone, given a certain point of view, takes a position they do not necessarily agree with (or simply an alternative position from the accepted norm), for the sake of debate or to explore the thought further using a valid reasoning that both disagrees with the subject at hand and proves their own point valid. Despite being ancient, this idiomatic expression is one of the most popular present-day English idioms used to express the concept of arguing against something without actually being committed to the contrary view. [2]

Point of view (philosophy) standpoint regarding a topic; opinion, attitude, or judgment upon some matter; way that one looks at something

A point of view, in philosophy, is an attitude–how one sees or thinks: a specified manner of consideration as in "my personal point of view".

Origin and history

During the canonization process employed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Promoter of the Faith (Latin: promotor fidei), popularly known as the Devil's advocate (Latin: advocatus diaboli), was a canon lawyer appointed by Church authorities to argue against the canonization of a candidate. [3] It was this person’s job to take a skeptical view of the candidate's character, to look for holes in the evidence, to argue that any miracles attributed to the candidate were fraudulent, and so on. The Devil's advocate opposed God's advocate (Latin: advocatus Dei; also known as the Promoter of the Cause), whose task was to make the argument in favor of canonization. During the investigation of a cause, this task is now performed by the Promoter of Justice (promotor iustitiae), who is in charge of examining the accuracy of the inquiry on the saintliness of the candidate. [4] The Promoter of the Faith remains a figure in the Congregation of the Causes of Saints and is also known as the Prelate Theologian. [5]

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Skepticism or scepticism is generally a questioning attitude or doubt towards one or more items of putative knowledge or belief or dogma. It is often directed at domains, such as the supernatural, morality, theism, or knowledge. Formally, skepticism as a topic occurs in the context of philosophy, particularly epistemology, although it can be applied to any topic such as politics, religion, and pseudoscience.

The office was established in 1587 during the reign of Pope Sixtus V. The first formal mention of such an officer is found in the canonization of St Lawrence Justinian under Pope Leo X (1513-1521). [6] Pope John Paul II reduced the power and changed the role of the office in 1983. In cases of controversy the Vatican may still seek to informally solicit the testimony of critics of a candidate for canonization. One notable example of this was in 2003, when author Christopher Hitchens, an atheist and outspoken critic of Mother Teresa, was asked to testify during her beatification hearings. [7] [8] The number of canonisations increased, from 330 between 1588 and 1978, to 483 under John Paul II's pontificate (1978-2005, an average of 18 canonisations per year).

Pope Sixtus V pope

Pope Sixtus V or Xystus V, born Felice Piergentile, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 24 April 1585 to his death in 1590. As a youth, he joined the Franciscan order, where he displayed talents as a scholar and preacher, and enjoyed the patronage of Pius V, who made him a cardinal.

Pope Leo X Pope from 1513 to 1521

Pope Leo X, born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was Pope from 9 March 1513 to his death in 1521.

Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.

See also

Dialectic or dialectics, also known as the dialectical method, is at base a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments. Dialectic resembles debate, but the concept excludes subjective elements such as emotional appeal and the modern pejorative sense of rhetoric. Dialectic may be contrasted with the didactic method, wherein one side of the conversation teaches the other. Dialectic is alternatively known as minor logic, as opposed to major logic or critique.

Dissoi Logoi is a rhetorical exercise of unknown authorship. Based on comments in the text it appears to have been written not long after the Peloponnesian War. It is intended to help an individual gain a deeper understanding of an issue by forcing them to consider it from the angle of their opponent, which may serve either to strengthen their argument or to help the debaters reach compromise.

Lawsuits against the Devil civil action brought in a court of law against the Devil

Lawsuits against the devil have occurred in reality and in fiction.

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The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is the congregation of the Roman Curia that oversees the complex process that leads to the canonization of saints, passing through the steps of a declaration of "heroic virtues" and beatification. After preparing a case, including the approval of miracles, the case is presented to the Pope, who decides whether or not to proceed with beatification or canonization. This is one of nine Vatican Curial congregations.

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References

  1. Helterbran, Valeri R. (1 January 2008). Exploring Idioms. Maupin House Publishing, Inc. p. 40. ISBN   9781934338148. Devil's Advocate Definition: To take an opposing position for the sake of argument. Background: Devil's advocate is taken from a role formerly used in the canonization process in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1587, Pope Sixtus V established a process involving a canon attorney in the role of Promoter of the Faith or Devil's Advocate. This person argued against the canonization (sainthood) of a candidate in order to uncover any character flaws or misrepresentation of the evidence favoring canonization.
  2. Devil's advocate meaning. The Idioms
  3. Fanning, W. (1911). "Promotor Fidei". Catholic Encyclopedia. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company. OCLC   811253232 . Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  4. Gray, Jason A. The Evolution of the Promoter of the Faith in Causes of Beatification and Canonization of Saints: A study of the law of 1917 and 1983 (PDF). jgray.org (PhD). Retrieved 19 January 2018.[ self-published source ]
  5. John Paul II (25 January 1983). "Divinus Prefectionis Magister". Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana . Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  6. Burtsell, Richard (1907). "Advocatus Diaboli". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company. OCLC   875120339 . Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  7. Leung, Rebecca (19 October 2003). "The Debate Over Sainthood". CBS News. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  8. Hitchens, Christopher (20 October 2003). "Mommie Dearest: The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud". Slate. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
<i>Catholic Encyclopedia</i> English-language encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States and designed to serve the Roman Catholic Church. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index volume in 1914 and later supplementary volumes. It was designed "to give its readers full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine".