1760, translating Latin advocatus diaboli, in the Catholic Church, a promoter of the faith and officer of the Sacred Congregation of Rites whose job it is to urge against the canonization of a candidate for sainthood. "[F]ar from being the whitewasher of the wicked, the [devil's advocate] is the blackener of the good." [Fowler]. Said to have been first employed in connection with the beatification of St. Lorenzo Giustiniani under Leo X (1513-21).
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