Jonathan B (at Per Christum) has posted a very good article on the question of laypeople intellectually engaging in the Church’s teaching, Is There Such A Thing as Faithful Questioning?. The second last paragraph puts the question succinctly:
Why have I written this post? Because I think the Church needs to address the difficult issue of “faithful questioning” a term I use to refer to the genuine struggle some Catholics face when accepting Church teaching. This is not willful dissent, which of course, is a grave wrong; really it’s somewhere in between full assent and dissent. However, I believe that failure to provide answers and guidance during periods of honest questioning can lead a person to dissent, which is a tragedy for them and the Church.
I have long puzzled over the question myself (Very serious theological question and The “I” and “we” discussion). The Father calls us to listen to his Beloved Son: there is a difference between obedience and blind faith. But how do we move from an emotional to a rational obedience without setting aside the intellectual gifts God has given us?