A little background.
Indonesia is the most populous muslim country in the world with over 200 million muslims. It’s very common here for a family with baby and small children to hire live-in baby sitters who are paid about US$ 100 per month with room and board provided free by the family. I know that at least 99% of the baby sitters are muslims here.
It’s very common in Catholic churches in Jakarta, Indonesia for some parishioners to always come late even until just before the homily. When they come very late, they have hard time finding empty seats around the back pews. Some of these parishioners have to get extra portable chairs without the kneelers to sit on the side of the pews.
On any given Sunday Mass, at the back pews, there are always some families sitting together with their small children who often make unpleasant noises. On one Sunday mass, just before the mass began, a family with 2 small children (age 5 and 6) and their two muslim baby sitters came to sit at one of the back pews. As more late comers were looking for empty seats around the back pews, I noticed that these two baby sitters just kept sitting comfortably while other people were standing, singing, kneeling, and praying. During the whole mass, the parents were busy calming their noisy children and the baby sitters did nothing other than talking with each other quietly. The children always wanted to be sitting next to their mother or father so these muslim baby sitters (age 20-23) had no baby-sitting function at all during the mass other than being there because the family who paid them, wanted them to be with them even inside the church during the mass.
The Question: If you’re an usher during that mass above, what would you do?
Common view that you always see on every Sunday Mass here:
- These baby sitters are not interested in anything about the Catholic Church and they have to sit at the pew with its unused kneelers (because they are muslim) during the mass because of the order of the parents.
- The parents don’t want to lose any convenience associated with taking care of their children during the mass and they just hire the cheap US$100/month baby sitter to go with them to the Sunday Mass. But many children like to be with their parents during the mass.
- Most baby sitters don’t do anything during the mass other than sitting comfortably there (as part of the job) waiting for the mass the finish.
- Many late parishioners don’t get to sit at the pew that has the kneeler because the otherwise empty seats have been taken by these muslim baby sitters who sit there as ordered by the parents. Is this fair?