What Masonic Penalities Are Enforced?
The only penalties known to Freemasonry are reprimand: definite suspension from membership; indefinite suspension from membership; and expulsion from the Fraternity. To these must be added that intangible penalty which comes to any one who loses all or part of his reputation. Other penalties suggested in the ritual are wholly symbolic are not now and never have been enforced. They were legal punishments in the middle ages, designed with special reference to the religious beliefs of the time that an incomplete body could not “rise from the dead”; that a body buried in unconsecrated ground (as between high and low water mark) could not ascend into heaven. Some Grand Lodges offer an interpretation of the ritualistic penalties, in order to be sure the initiate understands the symbolic character of these otherwise difficult phrases.