The cathedral was still "incredibly beautiful", McNamara said. "It's very sombre and melancholy of course - but I could see the beauty and sophistication in this architecture, and it really stands out as a fine building anywhere.
"Even in the churches that you see ... in other parts of the world, to have this stone exterior instead of brick, to have these grand colonnades on the inside that are natural stone and not just plaster, reflects that it's at the higher end of buildings of its type.
"You could tell coming down the street something grand, valuable and important was here. I wish I'd been here to see it in its full glory."
With the cathedral's fate still to be decided, McNamara was reluctant to declare that it should be rebuilt. He said grand architecture was at the heart of Catholic worship.
"It is an inordinate and disproportionate expense to build a beautiful church but it's part of the nature of Catholic worship," he said.
"It's not something that can be easily dispensed with."
He says much more about the nature of Catholic worship in the video attached to the story, in that we make visible what is invisible in order to prepare for heavenly things. That's why beauty in our churches is so incredibly important.
Related link: Expert hails Catholic cathedral