After their illegally-installed sprinkler system designed to drench sleeping homeless people caught the attention of the national media, San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Cathedral has had a change of heart about the whole thing. A KCBS story outraged viewers across the country, when it reported that the church installed a system that poured water out of a hole in the ceiling above an outdoor alcove, frequently used by members of the homeless community as shelter.

Following some bad press—and a visit from the local building inspector who filed a code violation notice—the system is being uninstalled. The church’s Bishop William Justice issued an apology statement that admitted drenching the homeless people with out warning was “ill-conceived.” However, the statement defended their intentions, saying they got the idea from buildings in the city’s Financial District that use it 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 Bishop said that the church is a major “supporter of services for the homeless in San Francisco” and that their drenching program was “not to remove those persons, but to encourage them to relocate to other areas of the Cathedral, which are protected and safer.” They added, “It actually has had the opposite effect from what it was intended to do, and for this we are very sorry” …