Thursday, September 22, 2011

Princess George of Greece converts

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 September 22, 1911

Princess George of Greece, the former Princess Marie Bonaparte, has "followed the example of her sister-in-law, Crown Princess Sophie, and has converted to the Greek Orthodox Church, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.   Princess George is the daughter of Prince Roland Bonaparte, part owner of Monte Carlo's public casinos.

The Princess, raised in the Roman Catholic church, recently decided to convert to the "Orthodox Greek rite, to which her husband, as well as her two children, belong."

It is "astonishing" that Princess George "should have refrained from taking this step before," as she did not obtain a dispensation from the Roman Catholic church when she married Prince George, a member of another religious denomination.   In the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church,  her marriage is not valid, and she has been unable to receive the sacraments.

Marie could have received a dispensation for the marriage, but only if her husband had agreed to raise their children as Roman Catholics.  Prince George could not do this as the Greek constitution requires that "all princes and princesses of the reigning house, born as such, shall be brought up as members of  the Greek Orthodox church."    

The papacy has been strict "in the matter of mixed marriages among the sovereign houses of Europe since its dispute with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Romania.    Crown Prince Ferdinand, as all members of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, is Roman Catholic, while Crown Princess Marie, a British princess, is a member of the Church of England.  

Pope Leo XIII granted a dispensation for this marriage on the understanding that "the children should be brought up Roman Catholics.   The pledges were violated and the Crown Prince's children have been raised in the Orthodox church.

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