Valentine: To a Saint Demoted Let’s Be Devoted

Karen Anderson, Crisis Magazine: This Friday, February 14, the universal Church will not celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, even though everybody else will. This even though he has been venerated by Catholics for about 1,700 years as the patron saint of love and marriage.

St. Valentine used to be honored by a Mass on his feast day. But my free calendar from the local Catholic parish simply lists February 14 as “Valentine’s Day,” stripped of its “St,” as if it were some desiccated secular observance like “Administrative Assistant’s Day.”

How did this happen? In 1966, a book written by a Franciscan (ironically named Agostino Amore) claimed that Valentine never existed. Fr. Amore’s thesis was that the ancient Basilica of St. Valentine in Rome was named after a wealthy tribune who just happened to be named Valentine—and not a martyr priest. Apparently it did not occur to Fr. Amore that it was common for a benefactor to give money to build a church in honor of his patron saint. And that Catholics don’t tend to name churches after themselves… The rest of the tribute is here.