Cruel Catholic Church drenches homeless as they sleep

Cruel Catholic Church drenches homeless as they sleep March 18, 2015

Heartless, shocking, inhumane abuse: Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, is using a watering system to drench the homeless while they sleep in the cathedral’s doorways.

In a most uncharitable and mean-spirited move, Saint Mary’s Cathedral has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the doorways of the church.

KCBS reports that at the cathedral there are four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, that attract homeless people at night.

While there are some “No Trespassing” signs posted at the church, there are no signs warning the homeless that at various times throughout the night water pours from the ceiling of the alcoves, drenching anyone in them.

According to the KCBS report, the shower runs for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes simultaneously in all four doorways, from sunset to sunrise. KCBS witnessed it soak homeless people, and their belongings.

Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homeless said:

It’s very shocking, and very inhumane. There’s not really another way to describe it. Certainly not formed on the basis of Catholic teachings.

A homeless person named Robert told KCBS that people continued to risk their own health by sleeping under the shower, explaining:

We’re going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in. Keeping the church clean, but it could make people sick.

In addition to the inhumanity and immorality of the practice, KCBS also reports that the the system was installed illegally, and may violate water use regulations.

Cathedral staff confirmed that the system had been in place for about a year, and that it was intended to discourage homeless people from seeking shelter in the church’s doorway.

An obtuse Archdiocese spokesperson, Chris Lyford, said:

We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person. But there is only so much you can do.

Since when is hosing down the homeless while they try to sleep “supporting the dignity of each person”? What kind of moral monster thinks that this sort of deliberate and cruel abuse is a good idea? Is this what they call “Christian love”?

Once again, the Catholic Church fails the test of simple human decency in a stunning and morally repugnant fashion.


Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco

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