Some of the things Pope Francis says sound very "liberal," while other things sound more "conservative," but anyone who is looking to categorize him as one or the other is bound to be disappointed!
I really don't like this "liberal v conservative" terminology .
I think it is on the whole an American thing .
Any who , like me , were privileged to live during the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and took an interest in the course of the Council will be aware of the terms "progressive" and "conservative" .
( I am not saying anything about the term "liberal" because I don't know what it means , and was unaware of the term until I frequented mainly American Catholic forums . )
Anyway back to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council . The 3000 or so bishops at the Council were labelled as progressive or conservative , according to their opinions . Thankfully most of the bishops were progressive .
I think the essence of the Council is to be found in one sentence of Good Pope John's opening speech at the Council . He said : " The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of the faith is one thing , and the way in which it is presented is another , and it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration . "
How the bishops were to present the doctrine of the deposit of faith in a way suitable for our time was to take up their work from Oct 1962 to Dec 1965 . Their presentation of the doctrine of the deposit of faith would incorporate teaching on the Church , Revelation , Liturgy , the Modern World , Communications , Ecumenism , Evangelisation , Non-Christians , Religious Freedom etc.
There was a minority of bishops who wanted none of this . They wanted the doctrine to be continued to be presented in the same old way . They were conservatives . They lost the day to the vast majority of bishops , referred to as progressives , who wanted the doctrine to be presented in a way which would speak to the people of our time .
Now I have no problem with the terms progressive and conservative . I have lived through a period in the life of the Church when these terms were acceptable and clearly understood .
I see myself both as a progressive and a conservative . As a conservative I want to keep that which is good and true . As a progressive I want to see reform where reform is needed , so that the good and the true may not be contaminated by that which is wrong or be ossified by customs and practices which no longer speak to our present condition .