Courtesy of Papabile I stumbled upon this piece claiming that JP II was a centrist. This mirrors comments I made a while ago on the same topic.
The fact is that their exists a Tradionalist end to the church that prefer the Latin mass, and are uncomfortable with changes since Vatican II. Labelling them as "right" or "conservative" is really unfair. I would bet that most "traditionalists" are probably very much economic Liberals. At the other end of the church are Reformists that are pro-choice, pro-contraception and generally would like to reform the church. Again labelling Reformists as "Liberals" doesn't help either because I'm betting some Reformists are probably Libertarians.
The last Pope was really in between the two extremes. It's just that the agenda of one extreme is more in line with the agenda of those in the media. Because of that you only hear one side of the criticism.
Also keep in mind I know some Catholics that prefer the Latin mass, are pro-life but they do not understand why women can't be ordained as priests. Some people will never fit any mold you come up with.