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He was born as Karel Truhlář to Czech parents in Gorizia, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Italy). He grew up in a Slovene-speaking environment. In the 1920s, he moved with his family to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. He studied theology at the University of Ljubljana and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1941, he returned to Ljubljana. He continued studying theology, where he entered the Theological Slovenian Seminary. During World War II, he deepened his theological and philosophical studies, especially through the writings of Romano Guardini and Vladimir Solovyov. In 1945, he went to the Catholic seminary in Praglia Abbey (Abbazia di Praglia), where he taught dogmatic theology. In 1946, he entered the Jesuit order. After 1948, he went to Rome, where he taught at the Gregorian University.
He became influenced by the Catholic theologian Karl Rahner, thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Christian mystics, who became the object of his theological reflection. In his writings, Truhlar started from the concreteness of human existence and accentuated the experience of the Absolute in it.
Truhlar also wrote poetry, in which many mystical elements can be found. His poetical work was praised by the famous modernist poet Edvard Kocbek, who also wrote a preface to one of Truhlar's collections of poems.
After 1990, Truhlar's poetry, which was previously known only to small circles of the Slovenian Catholic underground, received a positive re-evaluation by many renowned literary critics. Among others, Truhlar's mystical thought influenced the philosopher and poet Gorazd Kocijančič.