The Rev. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, wrote in Wednesday's Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that "it's not even worth discussing" doomsday scenarios based on the Mayan calendar that are flooding the Internet ahead of the purported Dec. 21 apocalypse.
Yes, Funes wrote, the universe is expanding and if some models are correct, will at one point "break away" — but not for billions of years. But he said Christians profoundly believe that "death can never have the last word."
The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 B.C., marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The Mayans wrote that the significant 13th Baktun ends Dec. 21.
- It's Dec. 21, and we're still here (gallery) 12/20/12
- Mayas face Dec. 21 with ancestral calm 12/16/12
- Mayan prophecy sparks dread, celebration worldwide 12/12/12
- Dutchman launches life-sized replica of Noah's Ark 12/11/12
- Avoid the crowds at these 5 Mayan ruins 11/24/12
- Early Mayan ruler's tomb found 10/26/12
- Tomb is likely a queen's, archaeologists in Guatemala say 10/5/12
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