I recently was in a public space when two women were having a gush fest about the pope. They went on about how everything is different and this is going to be the turning point and all those kids who've gone away are going to be flocking back to church.
Honestly, I'm not an asshat, so I summarily kept my mouth shut, went about my life, but like usual it started a kernel of a thought in my mind.
What exactly has changed since the pope has ascended the throne?
Has he changed the churches stance on LGBT rights? Depending on the web searches you do, you find people arguing both sides of coin. But the fact of the matter is, as of right now, the churches position hasn't changed. Try being an openly gay bishop? Yes, there are parishes out there that are welcoming of the LGBT community.
Has he changed the churches stance on marriage equality? Much like LGBT rights, it depends on the web searches you do. Call up your nearest Catholic church and explain you'd like them to officiate your same sex marriage and see how that goes over?
How about women's reproductive rights? Nope. This is one topic where the pope has towed the party line completely and hasn't mudded the waters. Contraception? Bad.
Has the church decided to come clean regarding sexual abuse by it's members? Considering the church was recently caught shipping pedophile priests to South American counties, we know that answer.
TL;DR: Nope, nothing has changed. Yes, he put the solid gold throne into storage and decided against the red shoes... But the catholic church will still continue to oppose contraception use, even in places like Sub-Subharan Africa where the AIDS is endemic.