Arturo Rivera Damas, a Roman Catholic Archbishop...


Arturo Rivera Damas, a Roman Catholic Archbishop who helped bring peace to the warring El Salvador, died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 72.

Archbishop Rivera Damas, who succeeded assassinated Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, was a key mediator between the government and leftist rebels during talks in the mid-1980s that led to peace in 1992. More than 75,000 people had died in 12 years of fighting.

His Sunday homilies often chided both sides in the conflict. But he aroused less hostility among conservatives than did Romero, an advocate of the poor who was killed by a right-wing death squad in March 1980.

In his final homily, delivered last Sunday, Archbishop Rivera Damas urged the government to avoid using force to resolve conflicts.

"I find a country at the point of falling into the temptation of desperation and disenchantment. To succumb to that temptation would be to open anew the door to the solutions of force," he said.

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