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Vatican's top astronomer assures everyone the world is not ending

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 12th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Everyone has been trying to calm down the apocalyptic panic over the Mayan calendar running out on December 21 of this year. Adding to the chorus is the Vatican's top astronomer who assures everyone that the world will not end in the next couple of say. The Rev. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory wrote that "it's not worth even discussing," in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Funes writes that the universe is expanding and if some models are correct, will at one point "break away" - but not for billions of years. He also said that 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. In spite of the fact that the Mayan never predicted the end of the world, people across the globe have found excuses to panic.

Doomsday theorists have posited such scenarios as planets colliding, solar storms and magnetic poles switching. The sales of doomsday shelters have exploded and many in the U.S. have opted to bury fully functional capsule-like homes in their backyards.

NASA put out an hour-long YouTube video earlier this month debunking the theories of doomsday arriving Dec. 21, 2012. The Internet has helped to fuel the frenzy as reports of people panicking are coming in from all corners of the world. China.org reports that the doomsday rumors have sparked "panic buying" in their country today.

One man in China spent his entire life-savings building an ark for the doomsday scenario that he believes in, one that most likely involves a flood. Lu Zhenghai built a 70-foot-by-50-foot ark, which is powered by three diesel engines.

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