It's maddening to hear the media types speculate about the new Holy Father as if he were a dictator, or a politician in a country without a constitution. Will he work for social justice? Will he legitimize marriage for priests? Will he allow women to be ordained? Will he soften the Church’s stance on abortion? Will he decree doctrinal tolerance of homosexuality? Jesus Himself would weep at such lunacy. Yet the flacksters on the news station I listen to could speak of nothing else.
Yo, assholes of the Main Stream Media -- forgive the redundancy, sports fans; some of them aren't yet aware of their own ridiculousness -- a church, whatever its doctrines, is inherently a highly conservative institution. It cannot and must not change course swiftly, nor may it bend to fads or fashions.
Some of the subjects discussed are matters about which the Church can make changes, though the pace is likely to be slow, and the probabilities vary according to the subject. For example, the ban on marriage among the clergy isn't Catholic dogma but a longstanding personnel policy. (It dates back to the 11th Century.) Even today, exceptions are sometimes made to that restriction, most often for married Anglican priests who want to become Catholic priests.
On some subjects, change is forever impossible. No Holy Father will ever proclaim ex cathedra that blasphemy, idolatry, murder, theft, adultery, false witness, or covetousness is quite all right. Unless, that is, you think God changes His Mind about Natural Law according to what he reads in the morning releases from Gallup.
In short: Don't expect Pope Francis I, a man very much in the vein of Pope Benedict XVI, to throw the Church's arms open to all the "reforms" homosexuals, militant feminists, and Planned Parenthood have been demanding these past few decades. Not only would it be a serious divergence from Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio's record in a Roman collar, it would be a fatal step for the Church -- and the new Holy Father, an intellectual quite as well respected as his predecessor, doesn't need to be told that.
(Pssst! Told you I'm an Irish Catholic white boy.)