The feared apocalypse will not happen on Dec 21, the Vatican said on Wednesday, rejecting suggestions, based wholly on the Mayan Long Count calendar calculation, that doomsday has been preset and will unleash its fury Friday next week.
The Roman Catholic Church expressed its official position on the matter, which has been generating tons of speculations, by declaring that the end of days will not occur anytime soon, and more so not before Christmas time.
However, for those completely sold to the Mayan prophecy, which came from a civilisation gone ages ago, the Church has this to offer - they can wait out of course but the vigil would likely outlive them.
According to Jesuit priest Father Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, total destruction and therefore the annihilation of mankind will not visit Earth until after some billion years more.
Writing for the Vatican publication L'Osservatore Romano, the astronomer Father Funes conceded that the planet we live will eventually reach the end course and this has scientific explanation - the slow expansion of the Universe.
But beyond that, there is no solid argument to back claims by some quarters that the appointed time for the world to slip away is four days before Christmas, Father Funes wrote on the Vatican daily.
What we're hearing and reading so far, according to the Argentine priest, are nothing but pseudo-prophecies and "the scientific basis of these claims . . . (are) not even worth discussing."
And given that the clock stops ticking in 2013, Father Funes insisted that Christians should remain unfazed because of the "fundamental conviction that death is not the last word."
While the doomsday prediction that was inspired by the Mayan calendar attracted unprecedented global interest and even drove many to embrace the prophecy as absolute truth, Maya scholar Geoffrey Braswell is convinced that subscribing on such belief is based mostly on certain cultures.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Mr Braswell noted that "the idea that the world will end soon is a very strong belief in Western cultures."
But as far as the Maya civilisation is concerned, "we don't really know if they believed the world would ever end," the University of California professor added.
To contact the editor, e-mail: