The theologian remembered Fr. Clark for being a student who didn't participate in class, was negligent of assignments, and seemed often "to be flying under the radar."
"It was clear he wasn't trying, and some made it known," Baglow said. "It was often countered that pastoral gifts and holiness do not require great theological genius, and the concern was expressed by some colleagues that we should avoid focusing too much on academics."
But Baglow said his concern about Fr. Clark, or other students who gave evidence of not trying, was not about academics, but character.
Baglow said he does not expect academic excellence from all students. But he does believe seminaries should expect effort, and evidence of virtue, in students.
"Tolerating mediocrity in a man allows tolerance for other kinds of unacceptable things."
"Mediocrity can be a cover for other problems - sometimes very serious problems," Baglow said.
Condoning "mediocrity" in the evaluation of seminarians, the theologian said, lowers the Church's standards in the calibre of men who become priests. The Church should accept men for priesthood who want to be excellent academically, spiritually, pastorally, and morally, Baglow told CNA.
The theologian told CNA that in his view "the system isn't broken, it's just missing a part."
He urged that seminaries develop committees of "well-formed knowledgeable Catholic lay people who are part of vocation evaluation and discernment."
Such committees would give recommendations about the suitability of candidates for orders independent of seminary staff or faculty, Baglow said, giving bishops the benefit of perspective and judgement outside the clerical and ecclesiastical milieu.