It said there has been a significant rise in telecommunications-related problems in Catholic marriages since 2007.
The same amount of people, 17%, presented with alcohol as an issue causing conflict in a marriage as the internet in 2015.
“Texting didn’t even feature as an issue of concern back in 2007; last year 21% of those counselled by Accord saw it as an issue of huge concern,” said Bishop Denis Nulty.
“Perhaps in time to come, the effect of Instagram, Snapchat, or tweeting in the relationships of today will become more evident.
“It seems to suggest the more communicative devices we have in life, the less communicative we are in our relationships.”
Bishop Nulty was speaking at the shrine of St Valentine in Dublin’s Whitefriar St church yesterday.
Accord delivered 33,969 counselling sessions to married couples last year, down from 38,880 sessions in 2014. On average about 9,000 couples avail of the service every year.
In 2015 “not listening or ignoring” and “anxiety or stress” were listed as the most prevalent problems among couples seeking Accord counselling. Both issues arose in 58% of cases.
“Intimacy issues” were cited as problematic in 50% of the couples’ sessions and “finance” was an area of conflict in 38% of cases.
There was a peak of 42% of couples seeking help from Accord over financial conflict in 2012.
That number fell in 2014 and 2015. In 2007, only 20% of married Catholic couples named financial problems as an issue in their relationship.
Accord also provides marriage-preparation courses. Some 15,774 people availed of them last year, up from 14,232 in 2012.
“I am very heartened by the fact that the number of couples who undertake an Accord marriage-preparation course continues to increase,” said Bishop Nulty.
“A good sacramental marriage-preparation course allows an individual or a couple to identify triggers in their relationship that could lead to a breakdown in communication.”
Newly engaged Deirdre Eighan and Sean Whelan, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, were blessed at the shrine yesterday. They became engaged at Christmas and will attend a marriage-preparation course before they marry next year.
Deirdre said: “I feel it’s something we both believe in. We always wanted to get married in the Church. It’s important to both of us and we’re looking forward to getting married in the Church and doing the preparation and putting the hard work in for such an important day as well.”