A modern capability with a long history
From 1587 to 1983 every candidate for sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church was advocated by the ‘Promoter of the Cause’ and opposed by the ‘Promoter of the Faith’ who was invariably known as the advocatus diaboli or the Devil’s Advocate. The Devil’s Advocate took a sceptical view of the prospective saint’s cause and ensured that the evidence of saintliness was sound.
As Devil’s Advocates we are prepared to tell you that you’re not the fairest one of all. We gently hold up a mirror to show you what is and what will be, not what you imagine.
A former Devil’s Advocate at the American Defence Intelligence Agency summarised the idea of constructive devil’s advocacy with a line from Shakespeare: “… do as adversaries do in Law: Strive mightily but eat and drink as friends.”