NO WORRIES—it’s not the end of the world.

This is the position of the Church, and, surprisingly, even of the Mayans, to whom the doomsday prophecy that the earth will perish on Dec. 21 is attributed.

Fr. Jaime Achacoso, JCD, STB, theologian from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Canon Law Society, told the Varsitarian in an e-mail that “the end of the world will come after all people have had the Gospel preached to them, but God only knows when the end of the world will come.”

Meanwhile, Jaime Licauco, founder and president of the Inner Mind Development Institute, a training center for parapsychology and philosophy, said the Catholic and Mayan people are in fact not contradicting each other when it comes to the end of the world.

“I do not see any contradiction between the Mayan calendar prophecies and Catholic teachings. In fact, the Apocalypse of John in the Bible goes farther than what the Mayan calendar has predicted,” said Licauco, who is also a Lifestyle section writer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The Mayan calendar, he clarified, did not predict the end of the world on Dec. 21, but a time of transition from “World Age” into another era.

”I know of no Mayan calendar expert who said that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012. Such a prediction is not contained in the Mayan calendar prophecies. It talks of natural calamities (earth quakes, floods, volcanic eruptions) before the end of each earth cycle, but not the end of the earth. The calendar talks about the end of the fifth cycle of the earth,” Licauco added.

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No regrets

The world had been predicted to end so many times. In 634 B.C., many Romans feared the city would be destroyed in its 120th year of founding. Likewise, in the first century A.D., early Christians believed that Jesus would return within one generation after his death. Isaac Newton also predicted that Christ's Millennium would begin in year 2000.

“These false predictions only make people worried and apprehensive. The media should stop publishing such nonsense. Near the end of every century there are predictions of the end of the world which never happens and will not happen for a long, long, long time,” Licauco said. “I never believed any prediction of the world coming to an end, whether Mayan or other sources.”

Meanwhile, Achacoso warned Catholics against predictions that go against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“That is the sad part: Such doomsday scenarios distract the people from the real challenge of living in the present,” Achacoso said. “The Pope put it very well: To remember the past with gratitude, live the present with confidence, and look to the future with hope. Carpe diem!—the ancient Romans had said. Seize the day, and I would even say, seize the moment!”

Mayan calendar

Experts had estimated that the cycle in the Mayan calendar began in 3114 B.C., and would have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, up to Dec. 21, 2012.

Carlos Barrios, a Mayan expert and an Ajq'ij or a ceremonial priest as well as spiritual guide of the Mayan Eagle Clan, explained what will happen on Dec. 21.

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The fear factor

“The Mayan calendar predicts the end of a 26,000 year cycle and the beginning of another cycle on Dec. 21. The world will not end,” Barrios said in an e-mail interview.

There will also be a rebirth of earth which is the start of the “Fifth Sun,” a new era where the earth will align itself with the galaxy, he said.

The emerging era of the Fifth Sun will call attention to a much-overlooked element. Whereas, the four traditional elements of earth, air, fire and water have dominated various eras in the past, there will be a fifth element to emerge within the time of the Fifth Sun. That element is “ether”—a hypothetical substance supposed to occupy all space, postulated to account for the propagation of electromagnetic radiation through space.

Barrios added that this alignment would open a channel for cosmic energy to flow through the earth, cleansing it and all that dwells upon it, and raising all to a higher level of vibration that would result in the movements of the planets and other heavenly bodies.

“[The end of the world] is just their imagination. Other people write about prophecy in the name of the Maya. They say that the world will end in December 2012. The Mayan elders are angry with this. The world will not end. It will be transformed," Barrios said.

Still, Barrios emphasized that the Mayan prophecy will happen, but its effect on people will depend on how they deal with it.

"The prophesied changes are going to happen, but our attitude and actions determine how harsh or mild they are. We need to act, to make changes, and to elect people to represent us who understand and who will take political action to respect the earth,” Barrios said. "Humanity will continue, but in a different way. Material structures will change. All the prophecies of the world, all the traditions are converging now. There is no time for games. The spiritual ideal of this era is action."

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