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This is a Masonic punishment, which consists of a temporary deprivation of all the rights and privileges of Freemasonry. There are two kinds, delfrlite and indefinite; but the effect of the penalty, for the time that it lasts, is the same in both kinds. The mode in which restoration is effected differs in each.
1. Definite Suspension.--By definite suspension is meant a deprivation of the rights and privileges of Freemasonry for a fixed period of time, which period is always named in the sentence. By the operation of this penalty, a Freemason is for the time prohibited from the exercise of all his Masonie privileges. His rights are placed in abeyance, and he can neither visit Lodges, hold Masonie communication, nor receive Masonic relief, during the period for which he has been suspended. Yet his Masonic citizenship is not lost. In this respect suspension may be compared to the Roman punishment of relegatio, or banishment, which Ovid, who had endured it, de scribes in Tristia (v, 11) with technical correctness, a a penalty which "takes axvay neither life nol property nor rights of citizens, but only drives away from the country."
So by suspension the rights and duties of the Freemason are not obliterated, but their exercise only interdicted for the period limited by the sentence, and as soon as this has terminated he at once resumes his former position in the Order, and is reinvested with all his Masonic rights, whether those rights be of a private or of an official nature. Thtls, if an officer of a Lodge has been Suspended for three months from all the rights and privileges of Freemasonry, a suspension of his official functions also takes place. But a suspension from the discharge of the functions of an office is not a deprivation of the office; and therefore, as soon as the three months to which tile suspension had been limited have expiled, the brother resumes all his rights in the Order and the Lodge and with them, of course, the office which he had held at the time that the sentence of suspension had been inflicted.
2. Indefinite Suspension.--This is a suspension for a period not determined and fixed by the Sentence, but to continue during the pleasure of the Lodge. In this respect only does it differ from the preceding punishment. The position of a Freemason, under definite or indefinite suspension, is precisely the same as to the exercise of all his rights and privileges which in both cases remain in abeyance. Restoration in each brings with it a resumption of all the rights and functions, the exercise of which had been interrupted by the sentence of suspension. Neither definite nor indefinite suspension can be inflicted except after due notification and trial, and then only by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.
Restoration to Masonic rights differs, as we have said, in these two kinds. Restoration from definite suspension may take place either by a vote of the Lodge abridging the time, when two-thirds of all the members must concur, or it will terminate by natural expiration of the period fixed by the sentence, and that without any vote of the Lodge. Thus, if a member is suspended for three months, at the end of the third month his suspension terminates, and he is ipso facto (by that fact) restored to all his rights and privileges.
In the case of indefinite suspension, the only method of restoration is by a vote of the Lodge at a regular meeting, two-thirds of those present concurring.
Lastly, it may be observed that, as the suspension of a member suspends his prerogatives, it should also suspend his dues. He cannot he expected, in justice, to pay for that which he does not receive, and Lodge dues are simply a compensation made by a member for the enjoyment of the privileges of membership. Of course the number concurring may vary from that mentioned above, as in this and other similar instances such rules are subject to alteration by the governing Cody (see Doctor Mackey's revised Jurisprudence of Freemasonry).
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