During the referendum campaign, not only Catholics but many others referred to the principle of Subsidiarity and giving it as a reason to 'repatriate' powers from Brussels to London. Some people quote subsidiarity as a principle for democracy, with a preference for national or local democracy.
This is a misunderstanding, that much under-rated pope, Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno, (79) says:
It [Subsidiarity] is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry.Thus it is about personal autonomy and empowerment, and about the respect that is due to the individual and his rights and dignity.
This very Catholic principle of subsidiarity, based on our very Catholic understanding of human nature, which is neither Capitalist or Socialist, just Catholic, is based on the gospel idea of fraternity, and caring for one's neighbour. The loss of it diminishes us.
Taking away autonomy from individuals seems to be one of our major social ills, it is perhaps one of the reasons young people are likely to take to the streets rather than the ballot box or the hustings. Dare I suggest that one of the reasons many British Muslims, who also seemed to vote Brexit, in the Midlands and North East feel alienated and are prone to radicalisation is the lack of subsidiarity.
Dis-empowerment seems to be an important factor in mental and social health of our country, The referendum showed a country divided. There is gulf between the elite and the masses, the powerful and the powerless, the fat-cat banker and the family that queue at the food bank, the comfortably housed and the young couple who will never own a house and can barely afford to rent one, or the parent who has to send their child to a school where he or she will be introduced to a gang sex and drugs culture because they lack the autonomy to escape their environment, or as in the picture the mega-rich Bob Geldorf (and the late Jo Cox) yelling insults at out of work fishermen.