The Motto

The motto for the 103rd Katholikentag (lit. ‘Catholics Day’), which will take place in Erfurt from May 29 to June 2, 2024, has been decided: A future awaits those who seek peace. The executives of the Katholikentag want to use the biblical Psalm verse 37:37b as a reminder that peace is a major challenge today and requires an attitude of openness and righteousness. "Peace is possible and necessary. But how? The war in Ukraine has caught us off guard in the middle of Europe. On our doorstep, there is war. We know that it cannot stay that way," says Dr. Irme Stetter-Karp, president of the ZdK and chairwoman of the Katholikentag leadership." The motto of the upcoming Katholikentag reminds us that no future can be built on violence and destruction. We are challenged to create peace and become people of peace. This challenge will be with us beyond the year 2024. In Erfurt, however, we will face it in a very special way." 

Not only the war in Ukraine, but armed conflicts worldwide challenge us "not to close our eyes to the global consequences. These consequences are famines, energy crises and mass exodus," Stetter-Karp continues. "Where it is a matter of sheer survival, the Katholikentag sets a vision that aims at life in abundance," the ZdK president says. "Psalm 37 speaks of God's breathtaking promise that humankind has a future. That it is good to search for the source of life, which is also the source of peace. Then we can become people who make a future worth living for all possible." This also applies "to peacemaking between generations, in families, in a diverse society - and also to peace between people and nature. These are all issues we will address in Erfurt." 

The Bishop of Erfurt, Dr. Ulrich Neymeyr, describes the motto "A future awaits those who seek peace" as "powerful.": "Certainly many people will agree with it, whether they believe in the God of the Bible or not. And yet this sentence remains a bold assertion in view of the news of discord and injustice that we hear about every day. The current struggle to end the war in Ukraine shows how quickly even specific questions about steps toward peace can trigger new conflicts." 

Neymeyr went on to explain, "Psalm 37 knows the suspicion that can affect every human being and shatter every hope: that selfishness, violence and injustice seem to have the upper hand. The psalm knows the experience that the righteous and the innocent often lose out." That is precisely why the motto excites him: "This verse of the psalm almost provokes us to think about whether peace really opens up a path to the future. This is what we want to face at the Katholikentag in Erfurt. Psalm 37 recommends trust in God, patience - and doing good."

"The psalm verse offers numerous possibilities to inspire the program of Erfurt," the Secretary General of the ZdK, Marc Frings, gives a first indication of the events that are now being creatively planned. "These undoubtedly include the debate on the peacemaking power of church reforms after the Synodal Path in Germany and during the World Synod in Rome. But above all, the Katholikentag will have to conduct a major social debate on the topic of peace and develop responses from Catholic civil society that create common ground - far beyond the realm of the Catholic," Frings said. "This matters a lot to us, especially in Erfurt, where Christians* are in the minority. We are making a Katholikentag for everyone. We deliberately want to do this - together with the host diocese. We are very much looking forward to working together."

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