In England the word advocatus was never used to denote an hereditary representative of an abbot; but in some of the larger abbeys there were hereditary stewards whose functions and privileges were not dissimilar to those of the continental advocati. The word advocatus, however, was in constant use in England to denote the patron of an ecclesiastical benefice, whose sole right of any importance was an hereditary one of presenting a parson to the bishop for institution. In this way the hereditary right of presentation to a benefice came to be called in English an “advowson” (advocatio).
The advocatus played a more important part in the feudal polity of the Empire and of the Low Countries than in France, where his functions, confined to the protection of the interests of religious houses, were superseded from the 13th century onwards by the growth of the central power and the increasing efficiency of the royal administration. They had, indeed, long ceased to be effective for their original purpose; and from the time when their office became a fief they had taken advantage of their position to pillage and suppress those whom it was their function to defend. The medieval records, not in France only, are full of complaints by abbots of their usurpations, exactions and acts of violence.
The German Vogt.
In Germany the title of advocatus (Vogt) was given not only to the advocati of churches and abbeys, but to the officials appointed, from early in the middle ages, by the emperor to administer their immediate domains, in contradistinction to the counts, who had become hereditary princes of the Empire. The territory so administered was known as Vogtland (terra advocatorum), a name still sometimes employed to designate the strip of country which embraces the principalities of Reuss and adjacent portions of Saxony, Prussia and Bavaria. These imperial advocati tended in their turn to become hereditary. Sometimes the emperor himself assumed the title of Vogt of some particular part of his immediate domain. In the Netherlands as well as in Germany advocati were often appointed in the cities, by the overlord or by the emperor, sometimes to take the place of the bailiff (Ger. Schultheiss, Dutch schout, Lat. scultetus), sometimes alongside this official.
ADVOCATES, FACULTY OF, the collective term by which what in England are called barristers are known in Scotland. They professionally attend the supreme courts in Edinburgh; but they are privileged to plead in any cause before the inferior courts, where counsel are not excluded by statute. They may act in cases of appeal before the House of Lords; and in some of the British colonies, where the civil law is in force, it is customary for those who practise as barristers to pass as advocates in Scotland. This body has existed by immemorial custom. Its privileges are constitutional, and are founded on no statute or charter of incorporation. The body formed itself gradually, from time to time, on the model of the French corporations of avocats, appointing like them by a general vote, a dean or doyen, who is their principal officer. It also differs from the English and Irish societies in that there is no governing body similar to the benchers, nor is there any resemblance to the quasi-collegiate discipline and the usages and customs prevailing in an inn of court. No curriculum of study, residence or professional training was, until 1856, required on entering this profession; but the faculty have always had the power, believed to be liable to control by the Court of Session, of rejecting any candidate for admission. The candidate undergoes two private examinations—the one in general scholarship, in lieu of which, however, he may produce evidence of his having graduated as master of arts in a Scottish university, or obtained an equivalent degree in an English or foreign university; and the other, at the interval of a year, in Roman, private international and Scots law, He must, before the latter examination, produce evidence of attendance at classes of Scots law and conveyancing in a Scottish university, and at classes of civil law, public or international law, constitutional law and medical jurisprudence in a Scottish or other approved university. He has then to undergo the old academic form of the public impugnment of a thesis on some title of the pandects; but this ceremony, called the public examination, has degenerated into a mere form. A large proportion of the candidate's entrance fees (amounting to £339) is devoted to the magnificent library belonging to the faculty, which literary investigators in Edinburgh find so eminently useful.
ADVOCATUS DIABOLI, devil's advocate, the name popularly given to the promoter of the Faith (promotor fidei), and officer of the Sacred Congregation of Rites at Rome, whose duty is to prepare all possible arguments against the admission of any one to the posthumous honours of beatification and canonization. This functionary is first formally mentioned under Leo X. (1513- 1521) in the proceedings in connexion with the canonization of St Lorenzo Giustiniani. In 1631 Urban VIII. made his presence, either in person or by deputy, necessary for the validity of any act connected with the process of beatification or canonization (see Canonization). The phrase, “devil's advocate,” has by an easy transference come to be used of any one who puts himself up, or is put up, for the sake of promoting debate, to argue a case in which he does not necessarily believe.
ADVOWSON, or Advowzen (through O. Fr. advouson, from Lat. advocatio, a summons to), the right of presentation to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice, so called because the patron defends or advocates the claims of the person whom he presents. At what period the right of advowson arose is uncertain; it was probably the result of gradual growth. The earliest trace of the practice is found in the decree of the council of Orange, A.D. 441, which allowed a bishop, who had built a church in the diocese of another bishop, to nominate the clerk, but not to consecrate the church. The 123rd Novel of Justinian, promulgated about the end of the 5th century, decreed “that if any man should erect an oratory, and desire to present a clerk thereto by himself or his heirs, if they furnish a competency for his livelihood, and nominate to the bishop such as are worthy, they may be ordained.” The 57th Novel empowered the bishop to examine them and judge of their qualifications, and, where those were sufficient, obliged him to admit the clerk. In England, for quite two centuries after its conversion, the clergy administered only pro tempore in the parochial churches, receiving their maintenance from the cathedral church, all the appointments within the diocese lying with the bishop. But in order to promote the building and endowment of parochial churches those who had contributed to their erection either by a grant of land, by building or by endowment, became entitled to present a clerk of their own choice to the bishop, who was invested with the revenues derived from such contribution. After the Norman Conquest, when the boundaries between church and state were more clearly marked, it became usual for patrons to appoint to livings not only without the consent, but even against the will, of the bishops.
Advowsons are divided into two kinds, appendant and in gross. Originally the right of nominating or presenting was annexed to the person who built or endowed the church, but the right gradually became annexed to the manor in which it was built, for the endowment was considered parcel of the manor, the church being built for the use of the inhabitants, and the tithes of the manor being attached to the church. Consequently where the right of patronage (the right of the patron to present to the bishop the person whom he has nominated to become rector or vicar of the parish to the benefice of which he claims the right of advowson) remains attached to the manor, it is called an advowson appendant, and passes with the estate by inheritance
- The distinction between nomination to a living and presentation is to be noted. Nomination is the power, by virtue of a manor or otherwise, to appoint a clerk to the patron of a benefice, to be by him presented to the ordinary. Presentation is the act of a patron in offering his clerk to the bishop, to be instituted in a benefice of his gift. Nomination and presentation, though generally used in law lor the same thing must be so distinguishnd, for it is possible that the rights of nomination may be in one person, and the rights of presentation in another.