The non-Onion internet has picked up the story of sprinklers dousing the homeless at St Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco. I’m sure you can find the full story almost anywhere. From the archdiocesan apology:
This sprinkler system in alcoves near our back doorways was installed approximately two years ago, after learning from city resources that this kind of system was being commonly used in the Financial District, as a safety, security and cleanliness measure to avoid the situation where needles, feces and other dangerous items were regularly being left in these hidden doorways. The problem was particularly dangerous because students and elderly people regularly pass these locations on their way to school and mass(sic) every day.
I appreciate the cathedral parish’s mea culpa on this, but something doesn’t quite pass the sniff test on this apology.
My parish has a fine custodian on staff. He shows up for work about 6 o’clock weekday mornings. If dangerous items were to be found in our “hidden” or other doorways, they would be cleaned up by the time students passed on their way to 8am classes.
The Financial District of San Francisco may have sewers and other drainage aspects to their systems, but it didn’t seem that St Mary’s did. When one splashes water on feces, it becomes wet feces if it has nowhere to go. Likewise needles. Urine, I grant, would be diluted.
SF is really taking a hit these days. Football players retiring to save their brains. Controversy over teachers and sprinklers. Does the Church need publicity consultants? When we do, what does it say about how deep it’s gotten? Does St Mary’s need this?