This is the first time I've been somewhat following peoples' reactions to a Pope (mostly because of all the threads on the forums).
How were things with Pope Benedict? Were ultra-leftist Catholics calling him "Benny" and bemoaning his destruction of all that Pope JP II worked for (naturally: women's ordination, gay marriage, etc.)?
I assume that things were significantly less charged with JP II, what with the lack of internet.
No Roman Catholic wants to answer this? Alright then...
I was around during part of this time (I didn't stop attending the RCC until July 2009), and also for the earlier transition between JPII and Pope Benedict. To the best of my recollection, the more liberal-leaning members of my parish had been very disappointed upon the election of Pope Benedict, and consoled themselves with the knowledge that Pope Benedict was an older man, so his papacy would probably not be very long. I don't think they meant anything sinister by that, but rather that it is apparently rare for a Pope to reign as long as Pope John Paul II had, so they took Pope Benedict as more of a transitional Pope, like "we've had this other guy around for so long, if we have to replace him let's hope the guy he's replaced doesn't shake things up too much from what people are used to". The only actual liberal/conservative conflict I can remember during the early days of Pope Benedict was when our priest once added a prayer intention for an end to the war in Iraq and a protection for its people (especially its Christians), which some of the older parishioners took to be a blatantly political statement. One old lady actually got up in his face and told him that she didn't come to church to hear political speeches. He told her in reply that if she didn't want to pray for an end to war and persecution of Christians then she didn't have to, but he wasn't going to stop doing that. Not sure how much that has to do with Benedict in particular...
If I had to guess, I would say conflict of this type is probably minimized by the fact that in many places there are more liturgically conservative and less liturgically conservative parishes for people to choose between. To the extent that liturgical conservatism corresponds to broader social conservatism, you can have conservative traditionalists looking askance at the liberal Novus Ordo people and vice-versa, but since the defining characteristic of the entire Roman communion is a given church's submission to the hierarchical governance of the Pope of Rome, they generally don't go so far as stripping one another of "Catholic" identity. The Sedevacantists are of course another matter. The extreme on the other end, with extremely liberal Catholics (clown masses and whatnot) is not something I ever saw in any parish I actually attended, thank God, so I can't speak to it. At the last parish I attended it was a rather liberal environment, in so far as they seemed fine to play with the rubrics a bit, but that was also the more liberal parish of the two I knew in town. When I went to the other one after complaining to a friend that the one I had attended was really liberal and sloppy, I saw a more tightly-controlled environment. So...um...there you go?
I'm sorry. I guess that didn't really answer your question. RC parishes are weird in that this liberal/conservative divide is very much embodied in the congregations, as you can even see in this thread (e.g., the OP was deemed extremist by some, defended by others, etc. I would be willing to bet that those who defended it are more conservative and hence had less problems with Benedict, while those who thought it was extreme are perhaps more comfortable with Pope Francis...though I doubt it maps out that cleanly across the entire Catholic world, or even in one location. After all, I grew into being quite conservative liturgically as a result of my time within a Novus Ordo parish. The difference between me and the OP is that I saw this unacceptable situation arising from deep ecclesiological and theological problems that I hadn't understood before I lived with them for a while, whereas certain kinds of RCs will do anything to preserve the Church as they see it, and hence prefer schism to outright apostasy, to the extent that those two can be distinguished in the modern RCC model. Most RCs I've known treat them as functionally equivalent, in that once you stop recognizing the authority of whoever's in Rome, you are de facto not Catholic anymore.)