Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

The world’s atwitter, even the Pope

7th January 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
Contributing Columnist

I have it from good sources – wink – that the Pope stood at his audience window in his Vatican residence on 12-12-12 at 12 minutes and 12 seconds after 12:00 o’clock noon with a bird on his right, and the two went, “Tweet, tweet, tweet” for all the world to know.

It is clear that the Pope is tweeting to taunt much of the world atwitter with the belief that the end of the Mayan calendar might signify the end of the world. Added to the fact that sober documentaries and many scholars have pointed out that Mayans’ writings also had plans beyond their end calendar, our lives are still going on apace.

The Mayan end-time frenzy fueled nervous speculation, then, when the midnight hour struck with impunity, sundry celebrations of extended, ongoing life around the orb, notably in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Great Britain, Beijing, France and Russia.

Tens of thousands of mystics, hippies – yes, they’re still here – and tourists celebrated in the shadow of ancient Maya pyramids in southeastern Mexico on Friday as the earth survived a day hailed by doomsday theorists as the end of the world.

Doomsday preppers do not cheer for the end time, but they do prepare for it. They just don’t trust the world dwellers, especially given the nuclear weapons they have made.

End-timers are a cheering squad for a quick end time. The scenario is ratcheted higher by the internet which sports the Rapture Index, affectionately referred to by its inventor, Todd Strandberg, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average of End Time Activity. Prophecies plus all the negative things around us equals The End.

One would think that they would have learned a more immediate lesson from the clumsy debacle of the Millennium/Y2K knee-jerk artists who sowed the seeds of fear and anxiety. The centennial/millennium End Time of Y2K, of course, turned out to be simply Y2K. It was a complete hoax, a total bust and a lucrative exploitation of people’s fears.

After failing in his September 15-17, 1994 end time prediction, California-based Family Radio host Harold Camping was back with a May 21, 2012 failure and now his latest failure on December 21, 2012. How many times can people be suckered?

Pat Robertson said on The 700 Club in 1980, “I guarantee by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on this world.” He believed that as of 1980, the Anti-Christ was about 27 years old and that Armageddon would start in 1982 followed by seven “nightmare years” of intense suffering. He is clearly 30 years off and counting.

Dazed devotees of the Heaven’s Gate cult leaped to action when amateur astronomist Chuck Shramek took a fuzzy CCD image of the comet Hale-Bopp that was set to reappear in 1997. He mistakenly observed that a Saturn-like object was trailing behind it, leading UFO enthusiasts to predict that an alien spacecraft was trailing the comet. How could 39 clueless cultists believe this would rescue them through suicide?

Don’t skittish people ever tire of being wrong about the impending doom of the end of time, of the world or of the age as some folks prefer to call it? When they begin to reference the end time as prophesied in Reve­lation 16:14-16, I am inclined to soothe their angst by telling them that Armageddon means, “Ahma gettin’ out of here!”

Over a third of Americans believe the end of the world is imminent. Any day now, they think, Jesus will be coming back upon the clouds of heaven to judge the living and the dead. Of course, extreme turmoil and the violent destruction of much of the world as we know it will precede the Rapture as prophesied in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Evidently, Paul thought he would be in that number, “those of us who are still alive” at the second coming of Christ. The year 2012 indicates that Paul was some 1980 years premature in his expectation of the Parousia, the second coming of Christ.

It is understandable that some dates that occur but once in a century have a special meaning for many. Thus, 12-12-12 witnessed an incredible body of phenomena that included over 7,500 weddings in the United States plus thousands more globally.

That aside, the misguided focus of untold millions is so distorting their viewing prism that it completely ruins their attitude toward people and things around them. Rather, we must embrace each day as the only day we have at our disposal. Happy New Day!

This article was originally published in the January 7, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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