Fr. James Alison from The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes
It is (perhaps) the central aim of this essay to show that original sin, precisely as understood from the standpoint of the ecclesial hypostasis, is not foundational at all. It is the revelation of a failed, futile foundation. There is nothing solid about original sin, nothing on which anything can be based. The doctrine is above all not an exercise in culpabilization, not a seeking to attribute some foundational guilt, but a parting glance at the drastic nature and the futility of a condition out of which we are being empowered to move. If I have insisted up till now on referring to the way in which Jesus founded a new people, this is because of the difficulty experienced in current ecclesiology in imagining the internal coherence between Jesus’ teaching, life, death, and resurrection and the coming into being of the Church. However, at this stage it becomes possible to take a step back from the language of “foundation.” The language is too dialectic, too involved in the human business of appropriating an identity over against some other, to reflect faithfully the reality of what Jesus was about. The sense in which Jesus was founding anything at all can be understood only as a subversion from within of any notion of foundation, because it was really an efficacious and constructive revelation of a purely gratuitous project that existed even before the human capacity for foundational distortion had come into being.