Something that one often hears is the criticism of the Second Vatican Council that it included no condemnations. This is held up as proof of what John XXIII intended when he said that this was not to be a “dogmatic” council. Thus it is argued that no new formulation of dogma can attributed to the Council.
On the other hand, we have often had discussion on this blog as to the positive meaning of negative condemnations – in particular, the condemnations of liberal democracy by Pope St Pius IX, and the condemnations of Luther by Pope Leo X.
I can well remember it being pointed out to me as a young Lutheran seminarian that the Augsburg Confession was therefore a precise dogmatic document in that it was formulated as positive statements followed by negative condemnations. This is a standard in dogmatic teaching which the Reformers took from the Catholic tradition, as exemplified by the decrees of the Council of Trent.
So, here is the point I wish to propose for discussion (and probably a good time for those regular readers who like to comment on this blog and have not yet registered as commentators – your first comment will be moderated after which, if I approve you, you can comment freely). It is from Chris Burgwald’s excellent (unpublished) dissertation on “The sinfulness of the Justified in Lutheran Catholic dialogue in the United States of America” (page 138):
One must be careful in determining exactly what the Magisterium is postively proposing when it negatively condemns a proposition.
Go for it.