The late Raymond E. Brown was one of America's eminent Catholic exegetes. I remember once reading bishop of Los Angeles (Roger Mahony) exclaiming that he considered Brown to be the brightest Catholic exegete ever produced from American soil.
I was re-reading Brown's Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine1 in which he once again2 brings forward the "centrist view,"3 in particular concerning Mariological themes and the development of doctrine.
This view would hold that much of Roman Catholic Doctrine (i.e., Mariological Dogmas, Mono-episcopacy, etc) are not found in Scripture. The reason they are not found directly taught in Scripture is due to the historical literary context in which Scripture was composed. For example, Paul's letters to the Thessalonians was written to a specific group of people in the mid first century which suffered from particular and specific needs, needs and problems Paul sought to correct. In no way then is Scripture to be thought of as a systematic theology encompassing every point of Christian theology explained in full detail. Thus, there exists the idea of development of doctrine, most classically displayed in the process of codifying the Trinitarian definition of the Christian Godhead.
Brown's point is then - that the New Testament need not directly contain any specific texts on the Assumption of Mary or her Immaculate Conception for these Dogmas to be true. Simply put, the Church through a process or development of thought and reflection on the person of Mary, slowly advanced in its formulation of these doctrines - all the while being Divinely led by the Holy Spirit in this illumination.
Of all the Catholic explanations on the development of doctrine I consider this centrist position the most satisfying, being the most faithful exegetically and historically. My personal view over development of doctrine is close to Brown's however slightly modified. The real question becomes then, are these Mariological Dogmas true and faithful developments or are they merely pious popular cultic legends that have been more or less accepted by the Roman Catholic Church?
. (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1985).
. Brown has written extensively on Mariological themes as they pertain especially to the Lucan so-called "infancy narrative," The Birth of the Messiah (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1977), ------., Mary in the New Testament (ed. by R. E. Brown, K. P. Donfried, et al. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978), ------., The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (New York: Paulist, 1973).
. That is, the centrist Catholic view as opposed to the "liberal" view which would reject all together any historical accuracy to the biblical accounts of the Virginal Conception of Jesus and also in contrast to the "ultraconservative" view which would argue that Mariological dogmas such as the Assumption and Immaculate Conception can actually be detected in Scripture.