In his presidential address at General Synod on Monday, Most Rev Justin Welby said there'd been a rise in "savagely divided" language in public life which could "become worse" after the vote to leave the European Union, the election win of Donald Trump and the rise in popularity of far-right politicians in Europe.
He told members: "We are in a time when the future offers a wider range of opportunity, or of threat, than we have been used to, culturally, politically and economically.
"There are a thousand ways to explain the Brexit vote, or the election of President Trump, or the strength in the polls in Holland of Geert Wilders or in France of Madame Le Pen and many other leaders in a nationalist, populist, or even fascist tradition of politics."
Some have opposed the remarks, saying it's wrong to conflate people who voted for Brexit with fascism - a political ideology widely associated with Adolf Hitler.
Daily Mail columnist Christopher Hart said: "Implying in this roundabout way that the ordinary, decent people who voted for Brexit are somehow marked or tainted by traces of 'fascism' is an appallingly ill-considered move."
Most Rev Welby clarified his comments in a series of tweets today:
I was not calling those who voted Brexit fascists, which would be ridiculous. You can read my speech here: https://t.co/OyV5Rj9xFX 2/2— Justin Welby ? (@JustinWelby) February 15, 2017