In regard to the question posed by the original poster, I do not yet know what to expect from Pope Benedict XVI. From what I have read, he is a "conservative" (whatever that may be), but during Vatican II he was known as a "liberal." Whatever he is, he certainly will displease traditionalists. If you are Latin Rite Catholic and have researched the old Tridentine Mass, you will recognize a vast difference between it and the so-called Novus Ordo Mass, which is the primary Mass of the Latin Rite today.
The changes made during Vatican II had ecumenism in mind, and many traditionalists believe that, in furthering ecumenical dialogue with Protestants, the Catholic Church went too far. While key Catholic ideas such as the Real Presence, the Sacrafice of the Mass, the Intercession of Saints, the special dignity of the Virgin Mary are all still present, they are now de-emphasized in the Mass. The altar is gone, and there is now a table-altar, which is almost identical to those used by Anglicans, Lutherans, etc. for the Eucharist. Many Catholics today do not fully understand the significance of the Mass, and so they end up seeing less difference between Catholicism and the Protestant religions. I highly doubt that Pope Benedict XVI will do away with the Novus Ordo Mass; however, I believe that he will make the Novus Ordo Mass more traditional in its wording in order to stifle the Tridentine Latin Mass and to avoid mingling Catholicism too much with Protestantism.
It is highly unlikely that Benedict XVI will return the Church to a pre-Vatican II Catholicism centered on the Tridentine Latin Mass. To do so would cause enormous schism(s) between those who believe Vatican II is a God-send and is ecumenical, and those who believe that, 1) Vatican II is not ecumenical, and 2) Vatican II must be interpretted in such a way that it corresponds with the decisions made by previous ecumenical councils.
I don't think we can say if Benedict XVI is a wolf in sheep's clothing or not. The Western Church at present is in great turmoil. The implementations of post-Vatican II bishops has, in my opinion, undermined the faith rather than bolstered it. The Catholicity of the Mass is diluted, modernism is invading Catholic universities and seminaries, there is less attention to the sacraments, an increase in Protestant influences--hymns, worship styles ("charismatic") and mindset ("Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, be he Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox goes to heaven") and essentially the removal of all things "too Catholic" from the sanctuary. The Pope has to be careful, because he knows that if he goes too far, it will become obvious that the Western Church has completely departed from the Apostolic Faith, whereas if he doesn't go far enough, many people will leave the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is growing in places like Africa and India, but it is losing its foothold in the prosperous European nations. Benedict XVI certainly wants to recover these lost modernists in Europe. The
question is: how will he do it? Will it be through compromising the Catholic faith (and therefore laying bare that the Western Church is not the true Church), or will he risk the loss of more "progressive" minded Catholics by not making certain concessions to them?
The Pope is walking on a tightrope. If he continues to reinforce the traditional Catholic positions on the celibate priesthood, contraception, abortion, female clergy, etc. he will most likely lose many Catholics; and in 1st world nations the priest per parishoner ratio will become worse. If he lets some Catholic positions slide, then the Catholic Church may grow, but it will be at the cost of many traditional Catholics, and the pope will truly be the Antichrist if through certain changes he leads over a billion Catholics away from the Catholic faith, and possibly into sin.
I speak these opinions as a Latin Rite Catholic who is at the moment sympathetic to Orthodoxy, and, to a lesser degree, SSPX. I believe that Orthodoxy has maintained the seed of faith insofar as the essentials of the faith, but I do have some worries about what I have heard some Orthodox say on contraception, abortion, ect.--ideas which I find completely contrary to the extremely strict and passionless moral guidelines of the early Church.
Next year I begin my studies in Catholic theology. I hope to gain a better understanding of what the Catholic Church has taught in the past and what it teaches today. If, in the next few years, the Catholic Church oversteps the line on moral or doctrinal theology (as it has almost happened in ecumenical publications) then I certainly will more fully consider converting to Orthodoxy.