A question about the Catholic Baptized but never confirmed

I have a friend/coworker I’ve known for quite a few years who has been for all of the time I’ve known him a very devout fundamentalist Christian. I know that he was baptized a Catholic, but he was never confirmed. Indeed, his parish priest at the time he was in confirmation as a kid decided to tell his parents that he wasn’t ready for confirmation due to the positions he was taking in the confirmation class at that time. He fell away during college.

But from the point I’ve known him, he has always been a devout Christian, albeit a fundamentalist. Starting here about a year or more ago, he started a very detailed and open minded study of Christian doctrines and the early church, and that has lead him to believe that the Catholic or the Orthodox churches (or maybe both) are truly the true church. I’ve been there to answer his questions when he had them, and provide them with materials when he was looking at them, and I have to really admire and credit him for his bravery in engaging in his journey.

In that journey, he’s arrived at the point at which he feels that the Orthodox Church is the real church. Clearly, I wish he’s see that the Catholic Church is, but at the same time I’m glad that he’s headed at least right now for a church with valid Holy Orders and Sacraments.

So here’s my question. I know that we Catholics find it morally problematic when a Catholic chooses to convert to the Orthodox Church, given as it is our position that the Catholic Church fully and accurately is the Christ’s church. But I also know that we regard the Orthodox as having valid Holy Orders and Sacraments. Do we find it morally problematic when a person baptized in the Catholic Church, and having received First Communion, Reconciliation, etc., but not Confirmation, and then falls away, enters the Orthodox Church?

Of course. One is Catholic by virtue of one’s baptism, not one’s confirmation.

Yeoman #1
Do we find it morally problematic when a person baptized in the Catholic Church, and having received First Communion, Reconciliation, etc., but not Confirmation, and then falls away, enters the Orthodox Church?

The problem never goes away for any Catholic who “falls away” for Christ Himself has taught: “if he refuses to hear even the Church let him be like the heathen and a publican.” (Mt 18:17), so the remedy is to listen to Christ when He extols His Church, the Catholic Church which He founded to lead all to heaven.

The Orthodox Church is the closest to Catholicism, but of course the Orthodox Churches do not contain all the elements of the true faith – they explicitly have fallen into the grave errors of permitting divorce and remarriage, through denying the reality of the infallibility of the Pope and His supremacy, and rejecting the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Fr Brain Harrison, O.S., examines this confusion:
“I was running up against the rather obvious fact that Orthodoxy is, well, not exactly catholic. I mean, not in the original sense of that word. It lacks the cultural universality and openness, the capacity to provide a true and welcoming home for all the world’s tribes and nations that is in fact one of those four marks of the true Church that most mainline Christian denominations include in their Nicene profession of faith: one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

From my reading on Eastern church affairs in recent years, I have the impression that many Orthodox theologians and bishops have now severely qualified or even surrendered any serious claim to infallibility on the part of their Church. Also, there is no longer any unity, any identifiable “official” position of Orthodoxy as such, in regard to unnatural methods of birth control. Some authorities continue to reprobate these practices, while others – probably the majority by now – condone them. Increasingly, Orthodox married couples are advised just to follow their own conscience on this issue – in dialogue, if possible, with a priest who is trusted as ‘spiritual father’.4
4 Cf. J. Likoudis, *Eastern Orthodoxy and the See of Peter *(Waite Park, Minnesota: Park Press, 2006), pp. 87-99, “Contraception and Eastern Orthodoxy”).

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