Each German Catholic Convention, in German named Katholikentag, has its own slogan. It is an orientation for all of the sessions of the Katholikentag.
The slogan of the 101st German Catholic Convention in Muenster 2018 is "Seek Peace" (in German: "Suche Frieden"). It regards to Psalm 34. To the biblical basis of the slogan, Thomas Söding, Professor of New Testament, has written down his thoughts:
Who is looking for peace?
"Think of the following situation: You are standing in front of the bill-board of a university department, for example in Muenster. There, in the crown of many others, a slip of paper is pined on. It is lettered with 'Seek Peace'. Who seems to be the sender of this message?", is how Thomas Söding asked.
Spontaneously, the Professor of New Testament gave several answers: A woman who fled Syria or a long-term student who lost all hope.
For Thomas Söding, the slogan of the Katholikentag in Muenster is "imperative and a cry for help" and moreover late-breaking. He is convinced that there is no topic which is more important than the public debate about religion as a problem of violence. For him, Muenster as one of the cities of "Peace of Westphalia" after "Thirty Years’ War" – in addition to Osnabrück – is a perfect place to discuss about it.
Everybody yearns for peace. Moreover, since thousands of years and in many cultures, the shortest form to welcome someone is a greeting of peace. Söding said: "Pax – Shalom – Salam. In the Bible you will find no wording in such a high number than Peace be with you!"
Peace with God and Peace with the world
It is said, that Psalm 34, where the slogan of the 101th German Catholic Convention in Muenster 2018 is from, has been written by David: "Avoid evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue him!" He is also quoted in other parts of the Bible. For example in 1 Petrus, where David had to encourage a frequently rejected church (1 Petr 3,11).
Referring to both passages of the Bible, Thomas Söding gathered: "The Psalm raises everyone’s hopes, that peace is no illusion but rather a possibility, a promise, a gift, a task. 1 Petrus advocates that church follows its appointment to be an area of peace and that church starts a mission of peace." Both passages concentrate on making peace with God, peace with others and peace with oneself. Katholikentage have to strengthen pacifiers but also ask questions of ideals of peace: "Which wars have to come to an end? Which plans of peace can be made? Who is searching for peace?"
At the same time, the German Catholic Convention in Muenster has the opportunity to show the slogan "Seek Peace" as an aim. Following the Bible, Thomas Söding said: "Seek Peace stands for seek God – and the other way round. Today, it is a challenge, to strengthen the quest of peace. It will get more intensive, the deeper the peace of God is sensed."
Thomas Söding wrote a broad essay of his thoughts in German. You can download it here.