The Archdiocese of San Francisco has released a statement explaining that the sprinklers mentioned in our post earlier today were installed to remove homeless people from certain areas (so they might relocate to safer areas, possibly on the Cathedral grounds) for the sake of “safety, security, and cleanliness.”
They admitted that the method used was “ill-conceived,” a polite way of admitting that they were exceptionally foolish in trying to move human beings (some of the most vulnerable human beings) using sprayed water. They are immediately removing the sprinklers, which may have been installed in violation of San Francisco water-use laws (and were used at a time when California faces terrible drought conditions).
There was no direct apology for their gross indifference to the human beings affected by the enactment of this impersonal, foolish policy. Either there was knowledge that these human beings were being soaked and the policy remained in place or no one was paying any attention to these people. Either way, it reflects precisely the type of indifference Pope Francis has denounced over and over again.
Of course the Archdiocese has helped thousands upon thousands of homeless people. That is wonderful, but it does not negate the indifference shown to those being soaked and ignored. Hopefully not just the policy, but also the indifference will be reversed today, after Catholics across the country demanded an end to this policy and the Archdiocese finally did the right thing.