The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops issued the following statement regarding the execution of Carl Buntion on April 21:
Carl Buntion, 78, was one of the oldest death row residents. Having spent almost half of his life in the harsh conditions of Texas’ prisons, he was an elderly, infirm man suffering from multiple chronic health conditions and fighting pneumonia. He was of no threat to anyone.
His death by the State of Texas is a clear example of the use of the death penalty as an act of vengeance and retribution, not to preserve public safety or protect the common good.
We continue to pray for everyone who has been hurt by the murder of Officer James Irby, who was shot in the line of duty by Mr. Buntion in 1990. We especially pray for Officer Irby’s wife Maura, and his children Cody and Cally. As people of faith, we know the Easter story is about restoring right order and life triumphing over the evil of death. Killing our fellow human beings, no matter what they may have done, reduces our own humanity and capacity to love.
The Church expects accountability for crimes committed, legitimate discipline for the protection of society and reform of our criminal justice system so that justice and mercy may be restored.
The Texas Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops includes 21 active bishops, who lead approximately 8.5 million Catholics in Texas, approximately 30% of the state’s population.