So here are some of my thoughts on Francis, recognizing that I knew little about the guy 8 hours ago.
1. Don't expect significant change for the RCC. All of these cardinals were chosen by the last two very conservative popes, JP 2 and Ratz. They all basically hew to that conservative view on key issues like abortion, celibacy, ordination of women, contraception, and acceptance of gay relationships. Francis will be no different, IMO. Now maybe we'll get a shocker like John XXIII, but don't count on it. I don't see much change in what have been retrogressive policies of the RCC since the issuance of Humanae Vitae in the late 1960's.
2. Francis has serious problems with his acquiescence or complicity (I can't tell which at this point) in the Argentinian dictatorships over the years. Some very bad stories are coming out. I suspect that he, like many prelates in countries run by strongmen, look to protect the church first and protest the atrocities later. Still, he hasn't had problems complaining about the more progressive policies (especially on gay rights) of the current Argentinian government. This is a serious issue in terms of PR, but frankly, of little import within the RCC.
3. He is 76 years old, and I suspect is seen as a transitional pope. He is a transition to the view that the RCC is more than Europe and Italy, and in fact needs to begin to pay attention to the southern hemisphere. Nearly 1/3 of all Catholics are in Central and South America. They need to be pastored. I think he is also a transition to a more pastoral view of the role of the RCC, in contrast to the dogmatic, theological view espoused by the last 2 popes.
4. His pastoral view, that I suspect he will push, is shown in things like visiting the poor parts of Buenos Aires, arguing that the church can no longer exclude from baptism the children of unwed mothers (indeed, comparing churchmen who do this to the hypocrites and pharisees of the bible), and insisting that the major role of the church is to care for it members and not worry so much about dogma. In fact, I see a decent chance that Francis will relax rules related to participation of divorced, gays, and unwed parents in the RCC -- he sees keeping those Catholics as more important than the dogmatic debate.
5. He has also been very critical of the vast economic inequities between the rich and poor. It isn't your old liberation theology, but it is speaking truth to the power of capitalism. He has referred to these vast inequities as sins that must be abated.
6. He is also transitional in being the first pope from the Americas (isn't that just like Rome? 500+ years after Columbus, they decide this "New World" thing is not just a passing fancy and maybe we ought to accept it), the first Jesuit as a pope (studied the sciences), the first pope to take an unused papal name in something like 1200 years (I'm excluding JP I since he just used the combined names of his immediate predecessors), and the first pope to pick a name from a saint who was a radical in his day. If he really follows the lead of Francis of Assisi, you are going to see some uncomfortable folks in the curia. I think the name is more for his pastoral leanings than real revolution.
7. The big question is if he has the strength, the power and the inclination to take on the pedophilia scandal that has so plagued the RCC. He has some help here in that he does not come from the curia, or from Europe or North America, where the scandal is at its worst. He may have the authority to do something on this. Cleaning up this scandal, and the problems within the Vatican administration, would be huge. He has no serious ties to the past administration, which may give him greater leeway to clean things up.
8. Bottom Line: Don't expect big changes. Francis may work on the edges to make the RCC seem less obtuse and recognize the needs of the poorer parts of the world. He shows no signs of being a huge reformer, and his lasting legacy may be to bring the new RCC world of the Americans and Africa some greater recognition in the old.