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"To Be Absent from the Body Is to be Present with the Lord"?

06/24/2012 Comments (6)

There is a common argument used against the idea of purgatory in some circles which goes like this: "St. Paul says that 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord' (2 Cor. 5:8). It's that simple: If you're a Christian and you aren't in your body then you are with Jesus in heaven. There is no room for purgatory in St. Paul's view. Purgatory is just a Catholic fable--a 'man made tradition.'"

Is this true?

It turns out that if you examine what St. Paul really said, the whole argument is based on a misquotation. St. Paul said nothing of the kind.

Furthermore, if you look elsewhere in St. Paul's writings--to the very same church he was addressing in his "absent from the body" passage--you find strong evidence for purgatory.

Far from being a Catholic fable, purgatory is rooted in the thought of the Apostle Paul himself--as I show in the following video.

I've also been working on a special mailing for the Secret Information Club where I "interview" John Paul II on the subject of purgatory. In the interview, I pose questions, and the answers are taken from his writing. Current Secret Club members will get it automatically.

Purgatory is a controversial subject that Catholics are often attacked over, so if you'd like to receive the special interview with John Paul II on purgatory, just sign up for the Secret Information Club by Friday, June 29th, and you'll have it in your inbox on Saturday morning.

You should sign up at

If you have any difficulty, just email me at

Here's the video!

Filed under apologetics, bible, corinthians, paul, purgatory

About Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin
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Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, "A Triumph and a Tragedy," is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."