Mexico's Catholic church calls for search for missing priest

The Mexican Council of Bishops is calling on authorities to search for a priest who has been missing since Jan. 3.

The council says Rev. Joaquin Hernandez Sifuentes was a parish priest in the northern state of Coahuila, which has been plagued by drug cartel violence,

It's unclear if foul play was involved, but the council said Tuesday that "crime and violence destroy the most sacred thing we have, life."

Several Roman Catholic priests have been attacked in Mexico recently.

Three priests were abducted in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz in late 2016; one was found alive, and two were found shot to death.

Another priest killed in the western state of Michoacan in September.

At least 31 priests have been killed in Mexico since 2006.