I am a little puzzled about the reaction of most progressives to Pope Benedict XVI.
If we look at it closely, the worst we could possibly expect was more of the same. The better view is that moving from previous position to Pope would give him a chance to exercise greater pastoral care and we might see less of the same.
If they thought they were going to get:
(1) optional celibacy
(2) ordination of women
(3) ordination of/marriage of gays
then I would say that their idealism got the best of them. I don't think it would much have mattered who was Pope, these things were not in the offing. The relaxation of optional celibacy is something that may come about in the near future. I don't see much hope for the ordination of women for a very long time, and as to the third group I don't hold out much hope of that either.
So why is Benedict XVI so difficult to endure? If anything, as Pope he is lilkely to loosen up. After 25-26 years as bad cop he'll get to play good Cop and find another person to take up his role.
In addition, and this is not to be taken that I wish the Holy Father any harm, his reign is likely to be somewhat shorter than that of his predecessor. My guess is somewhere in the 3-10 year range, but it depends on how his health holds up under the pressure of being pontiff.
So, in short, nothing has changed, it isn't any worse than it was, and now that the Pope is not in the role of enforcement, you're likely to see much better.
Finally, if one regards it rightly, the Holy Spirit has spoken. We don't know what this enigmatic form of speech may mean for the church, but we can rest assured, that it was the decision of the Holy Spirit, and therefore politics and preferences aside, it is right for the Church at this time, for whatever reason. Hold onto that trust, stay the course. All manner of things will be well. The Church is still the Church and it is still home--it has not changed from the Church of God, nor is it likely to. Take heart.