The significance of that isn't lost on close observers of power relations inside the church. With an infirm pope seemingly unable to appreciate the magnitude of the problem in the American church, the BC initiative - which will also include prominent scholars from other universities - could quickly become the focus of attention for those who want to change the church.
Is the notion that sweeping change could start with the BC initiative farfetched? With the Vatican viewed as unresponsive to one the biggest crises the church has faced since the Reformation and with the laity upset and actively organizing around the country, it becomes increasingly easy to imagine an alliance of scholars and laity rallying American Catholics around an American program of reform.
As the situation currently stands, Boston College probably has a stronger claim on the loyalties of the region's Catholics than does Cardinal Law. Certainly many of the most influential Catholics in Boston are BC graduates, as are many of the priests who serve the archdiocese.