The Pope is to replace an envoy who set up a controversial meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.

During his visit to the United States last September, Pope Francis held a one-on-one meeting with Davis, the clerk from Kentucky who attempted to block same-sex weddings from taking place.

The Catholic Church has ever since attempted to play down the meeting – which it initially denied even took place – with insiders suggesting that the Pope was caught unaware and had not been fully informed ahead of the meeting.

Reports have emerged this week that the Pope will soon name a new Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, succeeding Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – who was caught up in the Davis controversy.

According to Christian Today, sources suggest that Viganò – who has been Apostolic Nuncio since 2011 – will be replaced by the French-born Archbishop Christophe Pierre.

The Vatican insisted previously of the Pope’s meeting with Davis: “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.”

As Vatican sources attempted to play down the meeting, it was reported that the Pope hugging a gay friend elsewhere during his US visit.

The backtracking came despite words from the Pontiff himself – who appeared to back Davis while speaking to reporters on his flight home, when asked about her case.