Pope first encyclical explores issue of love between man and woman

&to=http://english.pravda.ru/world/2005/04/20/59273.html' target=_blank>Pope Benedict XVI offered his vision for the Roman Catholic Church's mission in the world on Wednesday, saying in his first encyclical that it had a duty to influence political leaders to ease suffering and promote justice through its charitable work.

The encyclical "God is Love" _ Benedict's most authoritative work to date _ has been eagerly anticipated because inaugural encyclicals offer clues about a pontiff's major concerns and the priorities of his early pontificate.

As a result, the 71-page text can be seen as an effort by Benedict to stress the fundamental tenets of the &to=http://english.pravda.ru/letters/2002/10/10/38019.html' target=_blank>Christian faith _ love _ and assert the church's duty to exercise that love through its works of charity in an unjust world.

In the encyclical, Benedict rejected the criticism of charity found in Marxist thought, which holds that charity is merely an excuse by the rich to keep the poor in their place when the rich should be working for a more just society.