Cardinal Vincent Nichols spoke about the rising tide of hatred directed at foreigners in the wake of the European Union (EU) referendum campaign.
Earlier in the year the UK decided to leave the EU by a 52 per cent to 48 per cent vote.
The Archbishop of Westminster said news stories about migrants were constantly negative and did not reflect reality of people fleeing difficult situations.
Speaking to the BBC: "It's doing nobody any good, this somewhat self-indulgent way in which people have begun to express themselves and their distaste, their hatred of people who they see as different.
"That is creating a kind of a cultural fear among people who have been welcome here.
"What we seem to be living with is a kind of popular leadership which is basing itself on fear. It is almost trading in fear."
He went on: "Leadership of fear is the worst kind of leadership because it actually undermines, it corrodes away the goodness that is in this country and that good leadership would actually foster.
"Sometimes it is the media that gives opportunity and creates an environment in which every item of news about migrants in this country is negative.
"That is, I think, untrue to the reality of this country, and corrosive of our best nature and our best contribution."
The Catholic leader has often spoken out about embracing migrants and refugees and helping to incorporate new vibrant cultures.