Pope Francis to replace envoy to U.S. who set his controversial meeting with anti-gay activist Kim Davis

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead a Jubilee audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican on March 12, 2016.Reuters

Pope Francis will soon be replacing his retired representative to the United States who made the controversial decision of setting up his meeting with anti-gay activist Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licences for same-sex couples.

According to a report by Jesuit newsletter "America Magazine," the leader of the Roman Catholic Church is keen on naming French-born Archbishop Christophe Pierre as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the United States to replace Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who reached the statutory retirement age of 70 last January.

The designation of Pierre, who served as nuncio to Mexico for nine years, will reportedly be officially announced after Easter Sunday.

Citing veteran Vatican watcher, Sandro Magister's March 10 entry on his blog "Settimo Cielo," America Magazine further stated that Pierre's promotion to the key Vatican post "is imminent."

The Vatican did not comment on Pierre's supposed designation as the new ambassador to the U.S. It is customary for the Holy See to defer any announcement on this matter until it has received the agreement of the Obama administration.

Pierre, who earlier served as nuncio in Haiti and Uganda, is set to replace Viganò who made the controversial decision of arranging a meeting between Pope Francis and Davis.

The encounter between the Catholic leader and the anti-gay activist raised some eyebrows, while some interpreted the meeting as Pope Francis' political statement against same-sex unions.

Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, however clarified that the Pope's meeting with Davis did not mean support for the anti-gay movement.

"The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis, and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects," Lombardi was quoted by The New York Times as saying last October.