Even the Vatican is weighing in on the impending apocalypse prophecy — and assuring people that the world is not coming to an end.
Jesuit Father Jose Funes, the director of the Vatican Observatory and the Vatican’s top astronomer, said the widespread claim that the world is to end on Dec. 21, 2012, is scientifically “not even worth discussing” because it is “obviously false.”
In an article titled, "Between pseudo-prophecy, science and faith — The end of the world isn't nigh (at least for now)" in L'Osservatore Romano’s Dec. 12 edition, Funes wrote of visiting the Mayan ruins in Copan, Honduras in 2003, saying he came to appreciate the great powers of observation of the heavens that these people had,” in reference to the classic Mayan civilization. But he notes that around 7 million Mayans still live today in Mexico and parts of Central America.
“In the Mayan culture, time had a cyclical and repetitive dimension,” he said. “Astronomy was developed on the basis of politics and religion, with an obsession for time cycles,” Funes went on, according to a translation by the National Catholic Register
Funes then discussed the Book of Revelation as not scientific information, but a prophecy of the inner workings of human nature.
“It is a prophecy because it shows us the inner foundation and orientation of history,” he said. “In the historical context in which it was written, the sacred author seeks to encourage the community of Christians who suffer persecution.”
Many scientists and scholars have dismissed the apocalypse prophecy — based on ancient Mayan calendars — as unfounded. Funes’ evaluation provides a sense of security for the millions of Catholics who have possibly become wary of this end-of-the-world prophecy.
Even so, Funes reassured his followers of an afterlife.
“Cosmology shows us that the universe goes to a final state of cold and darkness; the Christian message teaches us instead that in the final resurrection, the last day, God will reconstitute every man, woman and all the universe,” he wrote.
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