San Francisco Catholic church installs watering system to spray on homeless people

Saint Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco installed a sprinkler system to keep homeless people from sleeping in the doorway. [SEE UPDATE BELOW]

UPDATE: The church announced it will uninstall the watering system. The diocese said its "intentions have been misunderstood and recognize that the method used was ill-conceived. It actually has had the opposite effect from what it was intended to do, and for this we are very sorry."

The church has a sign saying “No trespassing” but it posts no warnings that people who lie down in the doorway will be sprayed by water. KCBS notes that the sprinkler system in the ceiling above the doorway “ran for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes while we were there, starting before sunset, simultaneously in all four doorways. KCBS witnessed it soak homeless people and their belongings.”

“We refer them, mostly to Catholic Charities, for example for housing,” a spokesman for the Archdiocese told KCBS. “To Saint Anthony’s soup kitchen for food, if they want food on that day. Saint Vincent de Paul if they need clothes. We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person. But there is only so much you can do.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Notable Replies

  1. "But there is only so much you can do.”

    Like soak them with water.

    Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

    FYI, I have zero religious affiliation, but I'll have to assume this church does..

  2. The church is removing the sprinklers because they were installed illegally and violate water use laws. They claim they were following what was commonly done in the financial district. Time to find and shame the other companies that are doing this.

  3. Baffling that a Church is pointing to for-profit corporations - especially financial corporations - as an example of how to treat the indigent.

  4. They just need better spin doctors.
    "Catholic Church installs free public showers for the homeless. Bishop says cleanliness is next to Godliness."

    In a side note the system has been turned off after the recent bad press.

  5. Y'know, if I purported to revere a jewish radical who flipped out and assaulted some moneychangers for doing business in the temple, I might consider not taking advice on offensive architecture from the financial district...

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