A meeting between the Chinese Foreign Minister and his Vatican counterpart last week resulted in a “secret agreement” that will bring the Chinese government into the process of appointing Catholic Bishops.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Munich on Friday with the Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher to finalize the agreement that was initiated and approved by Pope Francis. The agreement was to formalize a provisional agreement that was made in 2018 which will be expiring in August. The agreement allows for the Chinese government to pre-approve the Vatican’s appointment of Chinese Bishops.

The actual terms and details of the agreement remain undisclosed but it is being hailed as an unprecedented level of cooperation between the Catholic Church and Communist China, which officially cut off relations with the Vatican in 1951.

“Pope Francis hopes that, with these decisions, a new process may begin that will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome, leading to the full communion of all Chinese Catholics,” the Vatican said in a statement. “With a view to sustaining the proclamation of the Gospel in China, the Holy Father Pope Francis has decided to readmit to full ecclesial communion the remaining ‘official’ Bishops, ordained without Pontifical Mandate,”

Retired Hong Kong cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has long been a critic of Pope Francis’ relations with the Chinese government.

“Francis may have natural sympathy for Communists because for him, they are the persecuted,” Zen wrote in a 2018 op-ed. “He doesn’t know them as the persecutors they become once in power, like the Communists in China.”

Zen issued a statement criticizing the deal, accusing the Vatican of “selling out”mainland Chinese Catholics in order to normalize ties with  Communist China. In an interview with Life Site News, Zen criticized Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, “is not acting for the faith,” said Zen. “I’m sorry to say, he is not a man of faith because he despises the heroes of faith.”

“[Communists] never accept compromise,” Zen said. “They want full surrender. And so now we are at the bottom. They finished the operation selling the Church.”

“With a totalitarian regime, there’s no possibility of any talk or bargaining. No, no,” warned Zen. “They just want you on your knees.”