Is a papist always a Catholic who is wholly supportive of the Pope?
Must one be some sort of cleric or theologian to be considered by detractors as a papist or were every day catholic peasants and bums considered papists by people like Luther.
The term is a polemic and an epithet describing anyone who, in the estimation of user, is more beholden to the Pope than to Christ.
In Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan unfortunately expresses an opinion of the following sort: (From Section 4, The Valley of Humiliation http://www.covenantofgrace.com/pilgrims_progress_shadow_of_death.htm)
This sort of polemic rightly earns John Bunyan the adjective "anti-Papist," and truly the term originates as an anti- thing, rather than the thing itself. Being anti-Papist means you are against the Pope, and anyone who gives him succor is your enemy. (I feel dirty even typing this, Peter, and I do apologize that this is what my church was going through at the time)
As Merriam-Webster notes, the term originates in 1535, and says;
In his commentary on Acts, John Calvin makes the point, saying:
One can see in the above quote that it is the Pope who is being villified and seen as contrary to Christ - and the Papist would be anyone who support him.
From my own reading of Luther, Calvin, etc., papist is a derogatory term referring to any Roman Catholic who accepts the Pope as a legitimate authority from God during the time of the reformation. The reformers might not have spoken as harshly against Catholics in previous generations. After all at some point in time even Luther would have regarded the Catholic church as having legitamate authority before turning away from the gospel of grace, to works:
Here is a sample quote from Luther clearly including all Roman Catholics under the term 'papist':