During Severe Drought San Francisco Catholics Soak The Homeless Who Are Seeking Shelter


It never ceases to amaze how a large segment of the population claims America is a “Christian” nation, and yet willfully abhors the most basic tenets of their namesake’s teaching. Of course, America’s brand of Christianity is as far afield from what Jesus Christ taught as the Earth is from the Sun, so it is no great shock that rejecting his teachings epitomizes America’s neo-Christian movement; particularly on the part of the clergy.


California is in the midst of a historic drought that experts recently revealed leaves the state with one year of water if ideal conditions and water conservation measure are strictly adhered to. In a conscientious city like San Francisco, water conservation measures are taken very seriously by businesses and residents alike; except for the San Francisco Archdiocese led by embattled Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The latest outrage, and it is a monumental outrage on humanitarian and water conservation terms, against the Archdiocese is the harshest criticism for installing a watering system to drench the homeless to prevent them from sleeping in doorways around the sanctuary at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

According to a leading San Francisco news station, the Archdiocese installed a clever little watering system above doorways around the cathedral to drench the homeless and keep them away from the church’s tax-exempt property. It is likely not something Jesus Christ would do, but then the Church is not remotely interested in following Christ’s teachings. The Catholic Church is an organization that is a substantial partner in America’s fanatic religious right movement; its adherents are not.  Instead of sheltering the homeless, just before sunset, and at regular 30-60 minute intervals throughout the night, sprinklers above the doorways dump water for about 75 seconds to cover the alcoves and drench homeless people seeking sanctuary from the weather; at night when soaking sleeping homeless people can do the most damage. The idea is to soak the homeless, and all their worldly belongings, to teach them a valuable lesson about trespassing on ‘god’s house’ and to stay off of church property; likely what the church believes Jesus would do.


On Wednesday, the San Francisco Archdiocese officially released a statement addressing the controversy as it attempted to seek cover for being un-Christ like. It said that “people who were regularly sleeping in those doorways were informed in advance that the sprinklers were being installed.” The church also said the “homeless deterrent” was installed two years ago and now that their little “un-Christ like” inhumane waste of water is exposed they are really, really feeling remorse. The Archdiocese said that it was “sorry that our 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.” Now it is unclear exactly what the effect, or intent, of drenching homeless people seeking shelter at night was supposed to be, or how any sane human being could misunderstand their purpose, but it is doubtful that the intent or effect is in Christ’s teachings.

The City of San Francisco does make a valiant attempt to provide shelter for its homeless population the city claims is about 6,400 strong. Of those, 1,977 are considered chronically homeless, 914 are unaccompanied children and youths, and an estimated 2,200 public school students lack permanent homes in the city. The question the homeless and all Americans should be asking the wealthy Archdiocese and every empty church in the nation is; why they are not, as “good righteous followers of Christ” opening their buildings up to the homeless at night for shelter. After all, the Church does not pay property or any other taxes, and it receives federal money as part of the obscene ‘faith-based initiative’ program. It really leads one to ask exactly “what the Hell would Jesus do?” It is not in the scriptures, and doubtless that Jesus would leach money from the government and taxpayers and then waste that free welfare, and what little precious water California has, left hosing down the homeless for 75 seconds at a time every 30 to 60 minutes throughout the night?

It is not even surprising any more that America’s so-called Christian organizations put in practice the exact the opposite of what Christ and Pope Francis have preached to care for the poor; not hose them down. There have been reports that the new Pope serves the homeless, gives away sleeping bags, offers free haircuts and shaves, and plans on installing free showers  in St. Peters Square for the less fortunate. However wonderful Pope Francis’ actions may be, they are funded by donations from the real Christians supporting the Church. The Catholic Church, like the preponderance of Christian churches, is not following Jesus Christ’s admonition to sell all their belongings and give the proceeds to the poor.

That hypocrisy aside, the Pope did tell Catholic devotees that, “To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete: It means seeing in every person and face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely. And you are, dear brothers and sisters, in the face of Jesus.” So is the Vatican the face of Jesus, and like the San Francisco Archdiocese sits on untold wealth it should sell off to provide for the poor if as the Pope claims they are “in the face of Jesus.”

After the inhumane treatment of the homeless was revealed, officials at the Archdiocese pledged to remove the water-wasting system, and believe it or not, confessed that it was likely operating without a permit that would be a violation of San Francisco’s strict water-use and conservation laws. San Francisco Catholic Charities said they supported the Archdiocese’s decision to disconnect the sprinklers, but why did it take national exposure to support something the Archdiocese should never have done in the first place if it was an organization founded on Christ’s teachings?

This news cannot come at a worse time for Archbishop Cordileone because rank and file Catholics, good and decent people, are angry that a “morality clause” was inserted into local parochial schools’ staff handbooks. The “clause” empowers church officials to summarily fire any teacher they think “visibly” violates certain Church teachings. However, Cordileone does have some supporters who defend him based on his stellar record of helping the homeless. One prominent Catholic journalist, though, scoffed at whatever “history” the Archbishop has and said it in no way excuses the Archdiocese’ decision to waste precious California water hosing down homeless people seeking shelter from inclement weather.

It is bad enough the San Francisco Archdiocese is wasting water during a historically severe California drought, but to waste the water to prevent the neediest people in the city from seeking shelter is not only inhumane, it is exactly the opposite of Christ’s teaching to care for the poor. It the Catholic Church is not going to do what Jesus said, and sell all their material possessions and provide for the poor, the least it can do is open its substantial buildings for their use; not hose them down to keep them out of the doorways because it is certain that is not what Jesus would do.


29 Replies to “During Severe Drought San Francisco Catholics Soak The Homeless Who Are Seeking Shelter”

  1. That’s a damn shame-Instead of extending a helping hand, they extend a hose? SMH

    Soaking them with water is not gonna make them all of a sudden not be homeless…

  2. See all they had to say was the water was used to shower the homeless so they can have some dignity. Problem solved

  3. Does the “Antichrist” control the Catholic Church or just your “ordinary” human being assholes??? [WINK]

  4. Another Catholic-bashing article! Yawn. Have you even been to San Francisco? One of the most liberal cities in the country and the division between rich and poor has never been worse. The homeless are everywhere. What would you do if every morning you woke up to human feces on your doorstep. This is a stupid article from someone who just wants to bash the Catholicism, because bashing Islam or Protestantism, for example is not cool among so-called liberals.

  5. I know for a fact the author lives very near, and frequents San Francisco city proper quite often. Don’t be a needle-dick. This person bashes all religions equally., but you wouldn’t see that through your stupidity.

  6. Do you think that the “wise” Catholic- Church “leaders” (in order to be thrifty) used their excess “Holy-Water” supplies to actually “Bless”,”Baptize” and “Shower” the poor and the homeless people at the same exact time (kind of like an “automated car wash” scenario). Praise the lord!!! [WINK]

  7. Remember that it was a lot of progressives of all faiths who brought this story to public attention. Major Protestant denominations have been offering their social halls and sanctuaries for sleep just as the diocese did this awful thing. When one church was threatened by the law for doing this, they announced they were having an all night prayer service. The pastor said to the cops, “And if people fall asleep in church? Been happening for all time.” They were left to it.

    Christianity is not uniform in its approach to any issue from homelessness to LGBT rights including marriage equality, to war and peace. You don’t hear a lot from those working on justice – too damned boring for the media. But they are in full force and strong. They stop the poisoning and change the laws. Faith leaders have supported every LGBT right for two decades against others who don’t. And we won.

  8. This is all typical christian bullshit. Instead of addressing the wound (homelessness), treat the superficial appearances by institutionalizing hopelessness. Instead of a hand up, a slap in the face. Yeah, that will make their lives better. There might be a second coming soon. Jesus would have to be anxious to rid the world of those who have failed to get his message – especially those who pretend to be his followers.

  9. American churches, religious organizations and leaders used to be the moral and social voice that helped lead the way in holding political officials feet to the fire.

    Faith Based Initiative effectively bought their silence and helped create mega churches so big and bloated with all that hush money, we now have franchise churches.

    We have very few MLK’s of our time outside of North Carolina’s Reverend Doctor William Barber.

  10. YOU OPEN your door and LET them use the FACILITIES..THAT’S what you DO…..the ONLY purpose of CHURCH is to take care of the NEEDY…..even JESUS TELLS YOU THAT!

  11. I used to live in liberal San Francisco, atop Twinpeaks, and the view was incredible. You could shoot a connon and maybe hit 1 conservative and they were visting from the east bay.

    SF is no different than any other major city, liberal or not, they all have the homeless and poverty.
    SF is a lttle different since everyone is squeezed into a tiny area surrounded on 3 sides by water, and everyone wants to live in “the city”.

    ALL religion needs to be bashed because it’s a cult worshiped by the pathetic.
    The holy “babble” is a book written by men who felt superior and needed a way to keep the masses in-line, kept stupid and scared shitless.

    Contempt for Conservatism, Religion, and History
    However, since, as Duarte et al. demonstrate at length and in detail, they are certainly one-sided, often exaggerated, and sometimes false, there is no justification for it.

  12. “…the division between rich and poor has never been worse.”


    And the Catholic Church is one of the richest churches in the world, if not the richest. So, tell me, why their priests think it is a “charitable” act to drive the homeless away by wasting precious water needed by EVERYBODY, not just the Church.

    Their actions were NOT misunderstood, their actions had EXACTLY the intended affect. Their only selfish thought was to protect their precious grounds from those smelly, homeless, people.

    Yup, that is the true christian attitude.

  13. Spontaneous Baptisms?

    Apparently they’ve dismantled it as of this writing.

    Which makes me wonder what other intriguing tidbits are waiting in the wings….

  14. Douglas you are truly despicable. This article is not Catholic bashing it is simply pointing out the truth. If you are concerned about “human feces on your doorstep” open the buildings and allow these people access to bathrooms, showers, and warmer places to sleep. You might be surprised at what kindness can do.
    Your refusal to provide even a modicum of dignity for these individuals is breathtaking.

  15. Setting up porta potties for the homeless to use costs a hell of a lot less than a sprinkler system, & timers, not to mention the waste of water. I guess that wouldn’t be as much fun for them.

    We bash all fanatics, not matter which religion. Fanatics are the same across all the Abrahamic religions, no matter which religious cloak they hide behind. They worship the same God, but hate each other with equal passion. The Gawd of hate.

  16. Setting up porta potties for the homeless to use, costs a hell of a lot less than a sprinkler system, & timers, not to mention the waste of water. I guess that wouldn’t be as much fun for them.

    We bash all fanatics, no matter which religion. Fanatics are the same across all the Abrahamic religions, no matter which religious cloak they hide behind. They worship the same God, but hate each other with equal passion. The Gawd of hate.

    This headline is insulting. The Cathedral which is the responsibility of the Archbishop is where this happened. Within a half day the Catholics of San Francisco and the country dealt with this and the Archbishop 1) apologized, 2) had the system uninstalled. This headline is a smear directed at all Catholics and unfair!

  18. Douglas: Perhaps if there were less hypocrisy among Catholic hierarchy, including all other conservative Christians, who instead of focusing on the Corporal Works of Mercy (feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, etc) seek only to ‘admonish sinners’. “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.” http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P8F.HTM

  19. Lets think outside the box for a minute, put our minds together for the common good…and that is for H2o. Instead of Pipelines for oil, why not for water, those that have “too much water ” at different times of the year and send it on its way to those, who have too little or non at all.Stock it up like it was the oil.irrigation for farmers, reservoirs for drinking water,bathing and for cattle. Put people back to wor building these pipelines.
    Then a next step for those who are always on watch for tornados, worry for the children in school, take our tanks, submarines, ships and trail/box cars , instead of sinking them in the ocean or piling them in fields to deteriate,bury them for underground cellars/shelters to protect people in time of hurricanes and tornados

  20. Another ” All Catholics are evil” article. Everywhere in the city the homeless is being removed. Union Square, Financial district, Golden Gate park etc. Sure everyone wants to voice their disgust on the method but is there anyone who would go out there and sponsor one homeless person and take them in their home to Help them get back on their feet…. I didn’t think so. While you are talking about the surface, right underneath the Church is an office where anyone can go in to ask for assistance. Whether, bus fare for the stranded or a bed for the night. I know this for a fact because I have been in that office. Before you respond to this article, look in the mirror and ask what you’ve done to help the homeless.

  21. but is there anyone who would go out there and sponsor one homeless person and take them in their home to Help them get back on their feet….
    I am confuse. First you say its not the government job to do it let the churches fulfill their mission for the glory of god. Now you are saying its not the church job but regular people who should do it. What’s next? Round them up and exterminate them so problem solved? You are full of shit

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