VATICAN CITY (December 11, 2012)—The Rev. Jose Funes, the Vatican's top astronomer, says the world won't be ending in about two weeks, despite predictions to the contrary.
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 some 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.