No liberals among the cardinals...basically
The popular media has described the cardinals as "moderates", "conservatives", "hardliners", "traditionalists", "liberals".
The labels are misleading, particularly in light of American theological history.
The fundamentalist/modernist controversy of the 1920s pitted fundamentalist Protestants against liberal Protestants over the issues of the virgin birth, the resurrection, the inspiration of the bible, and a few other issues.
How many of these Catholic cardinals deny the virgin birth? Zero.
How many of these Catholic cardinals deny the bodily resurrection? Zero.
How many of these Catholic cardinals deny the truth of the Bible? Zero.
There just aren't any liberals in this bunch--at least in any sense that "liberal" is used in American theology.
Nor are they liberal in the sense of...
How many of these cardinals support the legal right to abortion? Zero.
How many of these cardinals support gay marriage? Zero.
How many of these cardinals support women priests? Zero.
For the real liberals in the theology faculties across the West there is no hope.
Resistance is futile.
On the other hand...some of these cardinals, or at least their aides, are asleep at the switch. Here's one news report on Cardinal Ratzinger's sermon today:
The message inside St. Peter's was clear: the truth of Catholic Church teaching is absolute, and its pastors must guard against "a dictatorship of relativism" that dominates modern society. An aide to a European voting Cardinal was not convinced: "It's what a lot of Cardinals in there want to hear, but it's not the right message at this moment in the Church's history."
Holy smokes (clearly the proper epithet for a conclave!). Where does this "aide to a European voting Cardinal" come from? The Crab Nebulae?
After forty years of European erosion, after the near-complete collapse of the Catholic Church in western Europe, this aide thinks a broadside against relativism is "untimely"?
Father, forgive them: they are not natives to this planet and don't live here.