Pope will replace American ambassador who arranged meeting with Kim Davis

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Apostolic Nuncio to United States, listens to remarks at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall meeting, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Baltimore.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Apostolic Nuncio to United States, listens to remarks at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall meeting, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Baltimore. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

After Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican ambassador to the United States, invited renegade Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis to his residence for an audience with the Pope, many progressives and LGBTQ people reacted with outrage. Pope Francis, known for his softer stance on LGBTQ rights and outreach to the less fortunate, came under fire for associating with the reviled government official who went to jail rather than issue a marriage license to same-sex couples.

Many Vatican watchers expected the Pope to quietly replace Viganò when he reached the statutory retirement age. Church law allows the Pope to decline the mandatory resignation, but he has reportedly accepted the Archbishop’s. A hardline conservative, Viganò was considered a hurdle to Pope Francis’ vision of a more welcoming and tolerant church.

Viganò will be replaced by Archbishop Christophe Pierre according to the Washington Post. Pierre currently serves as the Vatican’s ambassador to Mexico and has served as a diplomat at various posts around the world.

After controversy erupted over the Pope’s meeting with Davis, the Vatican blamed Viganò, saying it was not a statement of support and and referred all questions to Viganò for answer. One friend of the Pope’s claimed he was unaware who Davis was and was blindsided by the controversy.

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