BOSTON (AP)--Amid growing demands that he step down because of the sex scandal engulfing the church, Cardinal Bernard Law said Friday that he will continue serving the Boston Archdiocese ``as long as God gives me the opportunity.''
``I know there are people who believe my resignation is part of the solution,'' Law wrote in a letter to priests that was released by the archdiocese. ``This distresses me greatly to have become a lightning rod of division when mine should be a ministry of unity.''
``My desire is to serve this archdiocese and the church with every fiber of my being,'' he wrote. ``This I will continue to do as long as God gives me the opportunity.''
Law, 70, has come under increasing pressure to resign since the scandal erupted in Boston in January. He has acknowledged that he transferred the Rev. John Geoghan to another parish despite knowing of sexual misconduct allegations against the now-defrocked priest.
Law has apologized and reversed a long-standing confidentiality policy. He has also turned over the names of more than 80 priests accused of abuse to authorities.
The archdiocese is the nation's fourth-largest, with more than 2 million Catholics.
The scandal has led to a drop-off in contributions to the Catholic Charities organization in the Boston area, said spokeswoman Maureen March.
She could not specify how much money the organization is losing but said envelopes that normally come in with donations from individuals for the group's Easter campaign have begun arriving with angry notes. A series of foundations have rejected the organization's grant requests, she said.