The 2011 Matteo Ricci Award: Honoring Daniel and Sidney Callahan

The editors of America are pleased to honor Daniel Callahan and Sidney de Shazo Callahan with the Matteo Ricci, S.J., Award for their distinguished contribution to culture. They have contributed to the world of ideas, to letters, bioethics, moral philosophy and theology, psychology, spirituality and journalism. For a half-century they have lived a creative partnership rich in ideas and in values. Through their writing, research and lectures, they have taught both church and society how to think deeply about public problems, to explore our humanity and cultivate its deepest gifts in a potentially disorienting time of technological change. They have gathered round them in conversation circles of scholars and friends who with them cultivate the high form of friendship in which ideas and values are exchanged for the sake of the common good.

Their gift for civic friendship is one they share with Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), the Italian Jesuit polymath after whom this award is named. His most famous essay, “On Friendship,” is still regarded today as a classic of Chinese culture. Ricci and his companions bridged European and Chinese culture in a way no one has since. They shared with China the advances of Western science. They taught astronomy to mandarins, and Ricci himself designed an enormous map of the world that recorded the most recent geographic knowledge of the day. They also employed painting and music to communicate the Gospel to their friends. At the same time, they explained China’s Confucian culture to Christian Europeans, helping both to find commonality in difference. Ricci, his companions and successors were pioneers of a global culture.

In creating this award, the editors have been mindful of the standard Ricci set for multi-disciplinary learning with broad cultural influence. Daniel and Sidney Callahan have demonstrated equal breadth of learning and a passion for stirring dialogue over the issues of the day. The passions of their minds have inspired men and women to undertake research, join conversations and build communities of ideas where the future of our society and of our world continue to be debated. For the ways in which they have made the world of the mind live in the global public square, we are most pleased to present the 2011 Ricci Award for contributions to world culture to Daniel and Sidney Callahan.

America House, April 7, 2011

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Here we offer a selection of Daniel and Sidney's writings for America:

Sidney Callahan

"Sullivan's Travels," November 9, 2009

"Happiness Examined," February 23, 2009

"Limbo, Infants and the Afterlife," April 3, 2006

"Mary and the Challenges of the Feminist Movement," December 18-25, 1993

"Counseling Abortion Alternatives: Can It Be Value-Free?" August 31-September 7, 1991

"Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church," July 26, 1986

"The Pastoral on Women: What Should the Bishops Say?" May 18, 1985

Daniel Callahan

"Curbing Medical Costs," March 10, 2008

"Curing, Caring and Coping," January 30, 2006

"Paging the Unbandaged," September 12, 1970

"Hooked on Ultimacy," March 26, 1966

"Nobody Here But Us Pluralists," December 7, 1963

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Nicholas Clifford
6 years 8 months ago
What a good choice - and congratulations to the Callahans, and to the givers of the Ricci prize.
ANDY GALLIGAN
6 years 8 months ago
I concur competely with Nicolas Clifford's sentiments.  Kudos to both the Callahans and to the editors of AMERICA.  Dan and Sidney have long championed important ideas with sound reasoning in various fields, even at times disagreeing agreeably.  From the outside looking in I would call them an ideal couple who have enlightned many with their research and insights.  Good grandparents too.  May I presume to urge them to write more often for AMERICA and its worthy competitor COMMONWEAL?  It's been a while now.  I think too that the people in Washington would do well to consider Dan's ideas on containing medical costs.  And the hierachy would do well to at least discuss his thoughts on direct abortion.  I dream.  In any case, I am happy that such a decent couple received such a meaningful award.  Thank you, AMERICA.    

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