The preoccupation of Claret for the formation of priests was with him throughout his life. In his years in Vic there was an abundance of clergy and, perhaps for this reason, they were frequently lazy and given to play and to hunting. In the Canary Islands there were priests with deficient formation and little given to their ministry. In Cuba the deficient intellectual formation was accompanied at times with economic misery and moral degradation. And he naturally saw the scandal that this kind of priest caused at times to the faithful.
Claret knew through experience the negative impact a priest has when he reduces his vocation as shepherd to being a mere profession or lets himself be overtaken by ‘careerism’. But rather than opening himself to ineffective criticism Claret concentrates his attention on getting a good selection of candidates to the ministry and in ensuring their formation. In Santiago de Cuba he revitalized the existing sterile seminary and, during his years in Madrid, he established El Escorial as a model seminary both in the intellectual and in the spiritual and pastoral sense. For this seminary he wrote the book, ‘El Colegial Instruido’, an excellent educational manual for those preparing for the priesthood. As well as explaining the qualities that are required, in it he insists that a good priest must walk with the two feet of virtue and science or expressed with another comparison: must fly with the wings of prayer and study.
Claret was very conscious that virtue enables the priest to purify his motivation and live the human and evangelical values proper to the vocation he has received: honesty, transparency, self-control, the ability to give of himself, prayer, chastity, poverty, obedience, etc. Science trains the ecclesial shepherd for this permanent dialogue between faith and culture without which no evangelization is possible.