1530s, "adherent of the pope, one who acknowledges the supreme authority of the Church of Rome," from French papiste, from papa "pope," from Church Latin papa (see pope). Historically usually a term of anti-Catholic opprobrium. Related: Papism.
"small stall in a Catholic church in which a priest sits to hear confession," 1727, from French confessional, from Medieval Latin confessionale, noun use of neuter of confessionalis (adj.), from past-participle stem of confiteri "to acknowledge" (see confess).
older uses refer to schools in Ireland begun 1733 by the Charter Society to provide Protestant education to poor Catholic children. Modern use in U.S. began c. 1988, as an alternative to state-run public education.