1. Is the Mayan calendar date of December 21, 2012 related to the Apocalypse?
The Mayans did not expect the end of the world on that date. And there are Mayan artifacts with calendar dates on them well beyond that year. The date of 21 December 2012 is not the ‘end’ of the Mayan calendar at all, but merely an anniversary in their calendar system. It is analogous to the year 2000 in our calendar system, which some persons incorrectly thought would be the end of the world.
Dr. Edwin Barnhart, Director of the Maya Exploration Center, was interviewed by Fox News on the show “America’s Newsroom” on 10-21-2009. He stated:
“This is really an idea that’s coming out of the Western world. Of the thousands of ancient Mayan text we have, none of them say that this is going to be the end of the world. This is an important anniversary in their calendar, but no text tells us that they think it’s the end of the world.”
2. Some unreliable internet sources are claiming that the same date or year coincides with some type of astronomical event, such as an alignment of planets or of the sun, or a sudden shift in the magnetic poles. To the contrary, the NASA.gov website refutes these claims:
“Is it true that the Sun will be in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in December 2012 and that this will cause a pole shift and massive destruction.
“No, this is an Internet hoax, with no basis in fact. There is no alignment of planets or of the Sun with the Galaxy. As far as being in the center of the Galaxy, this is impossible; we are slowly orbiting the galactic center at a distance of about 30,000 light years. The idea of a “pole shift” is also unfounded. Most people seem to mean a rapid change in the rotational pole of the Earth, but this is something that has never happened and never will. Some people are confusing this with the reversal of the magnetic poles on Earth, which does take place regularly, every few hundred thousand years. But there is no evidence that this might happen soon, and even if it did, the magnetic shift would be gradual and there would probably be no consequences on the planet, certainly nothing catastrophic.” [astrobiology.NASA.gov]
3. Is there any significance in Catholic Christian eschatology (the theology of the end times) to the date of December 21, 2012?
In my extensive study of Catholic eschatology over many years, I’ve never read any prediction by any Saint or Blessed or mystic of visionary for that date. There is no basis in eschatology for concern about that particular date.
In my own eschatology, I find that the general period of time from 2011 to 2040 is the first part of the tribulation, followed by a brief time of peace lasting about 25 years, followed by a few centuries of increasing sinfulness in the world, followed by the second part of the tribulation, and many other events thereafter. Although 2012 occurs, according to my speculative dates, during the first part of the tribulation, even so the date of Dec. 21 has no particular significance in eschatology.
Moreover, in Catholic Christian eschatology, the Apocalypse is not a world-ending one-day event. The word Apocalypse means Revelation. The last book of the New Testament is called the Book of Revelation or the Book of Apocalypse. In this book, the Bible describes a long complex series of events, extending over many years, eventually leading to the Return of Jesus Christ. Christians do not believe in a one-day sudden end to the world. Rather, there is a long time period called the tribulation or the Apocalypse, during which time the world and the Church suffer from many various afflictions.
As of this writing, the Apocalypse has not yet begun. But in my speculative eschatology, the tribulation (the Apocalypse) begins in April and May of 2011, with three special events predicted at Medjugorje and Garabandal: the Warning, the Consolation, and the Miracle. See my book, The Secrets of Medjugorje and Garabandal Revealed, for more on this topic.